Acal profits up, electronics in mainland Europe expands -

Acal profits up, electronics in mainland Europe expands

LONDON — Acal plc, which distributes electronic components, IT parts and IT solutions throughout Europe, has seen its sales from ongoing activities grow 1.5 percent to £260.9 million in the year to March 31, 2007. Profit before taxation and exceptional items from ongoing activities grew by 14.0 percent from to £9.8 million.

These results do not include figures from the air conditioning and refrigeration business which was sold in July 2006.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grew 6.1 percent to £10.5 million despite a 8.8 percent fall in the parts services. The ongoing activities made a 40 percent on average return on capital employed, up from 31 percent the previous year.

According to Richard Moon, chairman of Acal, the growth in sales and profits of the two largest divisions, electronics and IT solutions “has been very much in line with our plans and we continue to invest in new resources, particularly in electronics.

Sales of electronic components by the group remained 41 percent of total sales and was up from £104.0 to £107.6million

Tony Laughton, the group's chief executive said that “Although the U.K. market for passive and electromechanical components has been somewhat soft, growth continues in this division with the success of our higher technology products, primarily semiconductors, power and RF & wireless products which have been, and remain, a prime focus. Specialized semiconductors now account for an increasing proportion of the division’s sales. The major gains have been in continental Europe as the expansion of the product portfolio took place earlier there than in the U.K. There has also been significant investment in people, particularly in Germany and Italy where in the second half of they ear we have recruited in excess of twenty dedicated semiconductor staff.”

Staff recruited include sales directors, field sales engineers, application engineers and product managers.

Acal has continued its restructuring with further consolidation of the U.K. passive and electromechanical components businesses with Radiatron has now merged with Acal Technology. Logistics (primarily inventory) is being centralized into two principal locations, one at Hook in the U.K. and the second in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Acal as a result on the growth in higher technology products its market share is increasing and its customer base has risen and totaled nearly 9,500 Europe-wide by the end of the year.

Acal’s associate, Singapore-based Westech, in which it has a 36 percent shareholding, increased sales and profits in its year ended December 31, 2006 with sales up 65 percent to Singapore$ 330.2 million (around $216 million/ €160 million) and net profits up 69 percent to Singapore$ 6.1m. (around $4 million/ €3 million)

Acal employs approximately 1000 people, has 17 principal trading companies of which 10 are in continental Europe and 7 in the U.K.

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