Market Report: Premier Farnell oust Laurence Bain

The company’s shares are languishing as its sales growth has ground to a halt

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The Independent Online

A management shake-up put the spark back in electronic parts distributor Premier Farnell.

The board of the FTSE 250 group, up 1.4p at 135.9p, ousted chief executive Laurence Bain, who took over from Harriet Green more than three years ago when she left to run Thomas Cook. Chief financial officer Mark Whiteling is filling in as interim chief until a successor is found, with the search already under way.

The company’s shares are languishing as its sales growth has ground to a halt, especially in the UK and the US. Chairman Val Gooding said: “Recent results have been disappointing and the board has concluded that the time is right for a change.”

Activist investor GO Investment Partners has been building its stake in Premier Farnell to 5.5 per cent, fuelling the theory it could push for a merger or at least a sale of part of the business. Rival Electrocomponents has been touted as a possible partner should it go down the merger route.

The FTSE 100 finished a topsy-turvy week in the red, down 17.59 points at 6,550.74, with the Chinese sell-off wiping almost 200 points off the blue-chip index over the five days.

IG Index’s Joshua Mahony said: “It has been a very indecisive end to the week as investors try to gauge how much impact this week’s yuan devaluation will have on the US Federal Reserve’s thinking, just a month before the all-important September [rates] meeting.”

Glencore dropped 3.95p to 172.85p despite banking $290m (£186m) from the sale of its copper project in the Philippines and its stakes in two nickel projects.

The sales came a day after the group revealed a $790m writedown on the value of Caracal Energy, the Chad-focused oil explorer it bought last year for $1.6bn – before the oil price collapsed.

Energy giants also restricted blue-chip gains as the lower oil price hurt Shell, down 19.5p at 1,814p, and BP, 3.9p at 379.25p. News that Lamprell’s chief executive James Moffat is to quit next year sent the oil rig maker down 2.75p to 130.5p.

On AIM, Highland Gold eased 1p to 46.75p as the Russian miner, backed by Chelsea FC’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, repeated its full-year production guidance.