Strong currency tailwinds masked an indifferent first quarter performance at power control components provider XP Power Limited (LON:XPP).
Order intake in the first quarter was up 7% at £54.6mln from £51.2mln in the first quarter of 2017 but the improvement was entirely due to currency changes; on a constant currency (CC) basis, order intake was unchanged.
On a like-for-like (LFL) basis, removing currency effects and the contribution from recently acquired Glassman High Voltage, orders were down by 4% year-on-year, as they had been in the preceding quarter.
Revenue rose 1% to £46.9mln from £46.6mln the year before but was down 5% on a CC basis year-on-year and 12% lower on an LFL basis as the semiconductor manufacturing equipment sector continued to feel the impact of the widely reported slowdown.
The order intake and revenue from the semiconductor manufacturing equipment were both down on the strong comparatives of 2018, XP Power said.
The book to bill ratio, which tracks the relationship between orders received and completed sales, and which XP regards as an indicator of future revenue growth, was 1.16 for the first quarter (2018: 1.10 times).
Net debt at the end of March had narrowed to £49.1mln from £52.0mln at the end of 2018.
The company, which pays quarterly dividends, has declared a dividend of 17p, a penny higher than the divi for the first quarter of 2018.
“We are encouraged by the continued strength of order intake experienced across the industrial, healthcare and technology sectors, and the book to bill level gives us confidence for the future. We continue to expect further revenue growth in 2019 which will be weighted to the second half of the year.
Shares in XP Power were down 4.7% at 2,420p in early deals.