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Electrocomponents Falls to Lowest in 19 Months on Sales

Electrocomponents Plc, the world’s largest distributor of electronics and maintenance products, fell to the lowest since March last year in London trading, after it said fiscal second-quarter revenue growth slowed.

Sales in the three months ended Sept. 30 rose 8 percent from a year earlier, the Oxford, England-based company said in a statement today. That compared with 14 percent growth in the previous three months. Revenue increased 5 percent in September.

“Markets are getting a bit weaker,” Chief Executive Officer Ian Mason said in an interview. “It is more general nervousness than anything specific. We have seen that all around the world.”

Electrocomponents, which gets 70 percent of its sales outside the U.K., wants to record a similar proportion through e-commerce. The company, which introduced 20,000 new products in the quarter, does 54 percent of its business through the Internet, up from 47 percent a year ago.

Sales in Electrocomponents’ maintenance unit are more resilient than electronics, Mason said. Gross margins were maintained from a year earlier.

The shares fell as much as 9.6 percent to 171.9 pence, and closed down 1.1 percent at 188 pence at 4:30 p.m. in London, extending the decline in the second half of the year to 31 percent.

Electrocomponents refinanced with a 210 million-pound ($326 million) debt facility in the period. No debt now falls due until 2015, Chief Financial Officer Simon Boddie said.

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