Alent posts fall in sales in first quarter

Alent, supplier of specialty chemicals and engineered materials, reported a 5.8 per cent fall in net sales value (NSV) in the first quarter.

Alent, supplier of specialty chemicals and engineered materials, reported a 5.8 per cent fall in net sales value (NSV) in the first quarter.

NSV came to £101.8m, down from £108.1m a year earlier, reflecting lower smartphone, personal computer and semiconductor wafer start volumes.

However, Alent said it was trading in line with expectations and there was no change to its outlook for the remainder of the year.

During the first quarter, the company experienced increased demand for its performance coatings products in the automotive industry in Asia and the Americas which was offset by weakness in European automotive production.

Alent said the electronics end-markets seemed to be returning to a normal seasonal cycle with a relatively slow first quarter following the traditional fourth quarter build-up.

The firm expects to see customers increase wafer starts which will bode well for modest recovery in printed circuit board fabrication and printed circuit board assembly in subsequent quarters.

Forecasts for global electronic equipment revenue growth have moderated since the start of the year but expectations remain for positive year-on-year growth.

In the assembly materials business segment, the firm experienced an experienced first quarter decline in product demand in the smartphone and personal computer end-markets, with customers preparing for new product launches in the upcoming months.

The surface chemistries segment saw further demand for printed circuit board fabrication chemistries. The business is in the early stages of the ramp in products feeding the semiconductor fabrication end-markets.

"Our financial position remains strong," the group said.

"Working capital trends in the first four months of 2013 have reflected normal seasonality with a build-up of working capital expected in the first half of the year and a corresponding reduction in the second half."

RD

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