Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - Page 12 News List

UK’s Premier PLC mulls expansion in Taiwan, region

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Premier Farnell PLC, a UK electronics and industrial products supplier, could expand in Thailand, South Korea or Taiwan to strengthen its position when the recession concludes, its chief executive officer said.

“About regional expansion, we’re looking at one of Thailand, Taiwan and [South] Korea; those markets can really deliver growth,” CEO Harriet Green said yesterday.

The supplier of 400,000 products, from drill bits to semiconductors, said increasing Internet-based orders will help counter a global economic slump and “challenging” markets. Sales per day for the three months through April slid 15 percent, the London-based company said today in a statement. April and last month showed an “improvement” over March, Green said.

“It’s too early to predict an end to this downturn, but it’s encouraging that we’ve got some signs of stability,” Green said. Clients have continued reducing stock levels in the last 45 days, she said, adding Premier was confident it would play an “important part” in restoring the supply chain when the destocking process ends.

Premier shares rose as much as 12 percent, the biggest intraday gain in more than two months, and changed hands up 6.2 percent at 138.75 pence in London, for a market value of £500 million (US$823 million).

The company, which is growing in faster-growing markets such as China, India and eastern Europe, previously discussed expanding in Taiwan and South Korea, before saying in December it would review those plans because of the recession. Premier aims to generate one-fifth of sales from developing countries compared with a current level of 17 percent.

The group is targeting 70 percent of group sales from the Internet within 12 to 18 months, with Europe “ahead of schedule” at 53 percent, the CEO said.

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