New tech launches drive Laird recovery

Reuters

By Abhirup Roy

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Electronic-components maker Laird Plc reported a 6 percent rise in third-quarter revenue as itenjoyed increased business from customers launching new gamingconsoles and smartphones.

Laird shares rose as much as 8.5 percent, making the stockone of the top gainers on the FTSE 250 mid-cap index, asthe rise in orders confirmed that the company was recoveringfrom a slide earlier in the year.

Laird, which makes electromagnetic shielding and heatcontrol devices for customers including Apple Inc andSamsung Electronics Co Ltd, said its expectationsfor the full year remain unchanged.

"The volumes we need to achieve our numbers are well withinthe kind of cone of outcome," Chief Executive David Lockwoodtold Reuters. "We don't need anything outlandish to happen inorder to achieve our full year."

Revenue in the quarter rose to 141 million pounds ($228million) from 131 million pounds a year earlier.

Revenue in the core performance materials division, whichmakes devices for smartphones and tablets, rose 10.7 percent to93 million pounds.

Revenue at its wireless systems business, which makesantennas and remote control systems, dipped 2 percent to 48million pounds.

In August, the company reported a 37 percent fall infirst-half profit because of reduced demand from its largestcustomer.

Laird does not reveal who that customer is but analysts sayit is Apple, for which the UK company mostly supplies parts foriPhones and iPads.

"They supply a limited amount to Samsung. Apple is by fartheir biggest customer. They are trying to gain share at Samsungeither organically or inorganically since they are underexposedto Samsung," Liberum analyst Eoin Lambe said.

Apple, which launched new iPads on Tuesday, has been underpressure from rival smartphone makers over the past year, andthat has flowed onto its component makers, including Laird.

Lambe said the strengthening business in the third quarterset Laird up well for a strong finish to the year.

Laird, which also makes smart chips for GPS and radiosystems in cars, said the jump in revenue was also helped byincreased sales to the automotive market in its electromagneticinterference (EMI) business.

Laird does not say which gaming console it supplies partsfor but Microsoft Corp's Xbox One is set to go on salenext month.

The company's shares touched a high of 244.9 pence on theLondon Stock Exchange before easing back to 242.02 pence bylunchtime.

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