* H1 pretax doubles to 50.5 mln stg vs 42.5 mln stg f'cast
* Boosted by sales in N. America, online and cost control
* Expects full-year results to beat company expectations
* Shares up more than 6 pct, hit three-year high
(Adds CEO, FD comments, analyst, shares)
By Golnar Motevalli
LONDON, Nov 12 British electronics supplier
Electrocomponents Plc (ECM.L) more than doubled pretax profit in
the first half, boosted by online sales and cost control, and
said on Friday full-year results will be better than
Its shares jumped to a three-year high of 279.5 pence and
were up 6.3 percent at 263 pence by 0912 GMT, making it the top
gainer on the FTSE 250 index of mid-sized British companies
.FTMC, which was down 1.1 percent.
Pretax profit for the six months to Sept. 30 rose 104
percent from a year earlier to 50.5 million pounds, well ahead
of the 42.5 million expected by analysts polled by Thomson
Revenue increased by 24 percent to 563 million pounds, said
the company which sells batteries, semiconductors, cables and
resistors mostly industry customers. It held its interim
dividend at 5 pence, in line with expectations.
"We've seen strong underlying sales growth of over 24
percent ... all regions are in double digit growth ... That's
led us to raise our expectations for the full year," Chief
Executive Ian Mason told reporters on a conference call.
"Everybody is innovating on everything everywhere. You've
got a proliferation of electronics, coming out of the recession
there's a lot of innovation going on," he said.
Evolution Securities analyst Adrian Kearsey reiterated a
"buy" rating on the stock. "There's very impressive cost control
driving the operating margins on last year ... We've raised our
full-year profit before tax forecast from 102 million pounds to
110 million pounds," he said,
Electrocomponents, which also sells products under the RS
brand, said online sales had grown by 42 percent, led by North
America, and it was on track to meet its medium-term target of
developing eCommerce to represent 70 percent of revenue.
Group Finance Director Simon Boddie added the company's
strong cost controls had been aided by more online sales and
rationalising warehouses in Britain. "Nearly 50 pct of the
business being online has huge cost benefit," Boddie said.
Mason said Electrocomponents would continue with its
strategy of focusing on international sales, which now account
for 70 percent of the business, and growing online sales in
countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and China.
In September rival Premier Farnell PFL.L beat
second-quarter forecasts, also more than doubling its profit on
strong sales and growth in Asia and North America.
(Editing by Paul Hoskins and David Holmes)