News - Yorkshire

Resilient Premier Farnell hails Raspberry PI

First-half profits and revenues have fallen at Premier Farnell but the electronics business said it was performing robustly in challenging conditions.

During the period the Leeds-headquartered company, which has introduced a new management team, was involved in the launch of the Raspberry Pi mini-computers and said sales had exceeded expectations.

Premier Farnell said the first significant sales of Raspberry Pi were in the second quarter and generated revenue of £3.9m. The product attracted 118,000 new customers and contributed to a further 1.7 million visits to Premier Farnell's community websites in the second quarter on top of the 2.7 million visits in the first quarter.

The company added that the lower margin impact of Raspberry Pi, manufactured in Wales at the Sony UK Technology Centre, will diminish as it continued to add a range of higher margin associated products.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized single-board computer developed with the aim of encouraging the teaching of basic computer science in schools.

In the six months to 31 August, Premier Farnell reported total revenue of £479m, down from £498m in 2011. Pre-tax profit also fell, by 51 per cent, to £31.8m.

"In very challenging global markets we continue to show resilience and make strategic progress," said chief executive Laurence Bain. "At a global level we have now had four consecutive quarters of stable sales per day within a market that continued to decline.

"With our customer base increasing further in the second quarter and our year on year sales performance improving from Q1 to Q2 in Europe and the Americas - the business continues to perform well on a comparative basis."

Bain added that despite global markets remaining uncertain he was confident that Premier Farnell was well positioned to "leverage opportunities in our target markets".

Bain was appointed chief executive after Harriet Green stepped down to take up a role of group chief executive at tour operator Thomas Cook. Earlier this month (September) it was announced that chief financial officer Nicholas Cadbury is to join Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inns, and will be replaced by Mark Whiteling.

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