Aug. 3 -- The diversified Cookson Group plc reported strong growth in sales of solder products in the first half of 2011, although this was mainly due to the passing on of higher tin and silver prices. In a statement issued today it also commented on changes in its product mix towards higher value-added products and on global sales of consumer electronics products. Total group revenue of UK£1,421million was 15% higher than the first half of 2010, within which sales of assembly materials (solders and related products) rose by 30% to £272 million.
In a release Cookson said that “excluding the impact of passing through higher tin and silver prices and adjusting for a small disposal in December 2010, on an underlying basis revenue was 2% higher than the first half of 2010 and 8% lower than the second half. These growth rates reflect the strong growth in the global production of electronic equipment, the continuation of the successful strategy to focus on higher margin, enhanced technology products, and exiting more commoditised products such as bar solder. For solder products, which account for three-quarters of assembly materials’ revenue, sales of higher margin solder pastes were up 7% by weight compared to the first half of 2010 while bar solder was down 12%, partially reflecting the continuing shift from wave soldering to surface mount technology for the production of PCBs.”
The group provided some generally bullish statistics on electronics product markets: “According to estimates from Gartner, global personal computer unit shipments in the first half of 2011 were only 1% higher than the first half of 2010. However this data excludes tablet personal computers, volumes of which according to Henderson are expected to double from 20m units in 2010 to around 45m units in 2011. Global unit shipments of mobile phones increased 15% compared to the first half of 2010, according to estimates from IDC, with an increasing proportion of these being more technically sophisticated smartphones. Automotive markets have shown good improvement.”
Looking ahead Cookson said that “while macro-economic conditions remain uncertain, to date we have seen no material change in end-market, or trading, trends beyond normal seasonal effects.” For the full year 2011, it expects slightly higher than mid-single digit growth in global electronics equipment production, with the usual seasonal peak in the current quarter.