German component distribution market remains optimistic due to increase in orders


German component distribution market remains optimistic due to increase in orders

Though the situation in the German component distribution market stabilized in the fourth quarter of 2012, as evidenced by a 10 percent increase in orders, the weak beginning to the year had a negative impact on full-year results. The year ended for the industry with a 10% decline. The book-to-bill ratio (ratio of new orders placed to billed) in the fourth quarter was 1.07, giving hope for additional positive developments in 2013. Fourth quarter revenues of FBDi (Fachverband der Bauelemente Distribution e.V - Professional Association of Component Distribution) member companies were 611 million euros, only 3.9% below the same quarter in the previous year. Full-year revenues ended 2012 at 2.76 billion euros, a decline of 10%. Orders grew 10.2% in the fourth quarter to 651 million euros. Although by year's end the trends in all product areas had almost balanced out, semiconductors with a 12% decline suffered the most. Bottom line total revenues were 1.91 billion euros. On a more „positive" note were passive components with a 7.4% decline and annual revenues of almost 400 million euros. Electromechanical fell 5.7% to close 2012 at 288 million euros in revenue. Power supplies recorded a decline of 4.4% with revenues of 55 million euros. The single growth market, displays, posted a 15% increase with revenues of 80 million euros. Revenue distribution among the component groups remained the same: semiconductor share of the FBDi total in the first half of the year was 69%, passives 14%, electromechanical 11%, displays 3%, and power supplies 2%. Fluctuations were within cyclical norms. According to FBDi Chairman Georg Steinberger (Avnet), "As predicted throughout the year, the German distribution market came in at pretty much the same sales level as 2010. It was clear by the end of the first quarter that the exceptional results of 2011 would not be repeated. It's a moot point as to why, even if special factors such as the euro crisis or a weakness in the automotive sector came into play". How the distribution market progresses in 2013 does not depend only on the German business environment, says Steinberger, "Sales increases and reports of a resurgence in exports from German companies are in contrast to higher inventory levels by some manufacturers and a general trend in the PC market. Although German industry and component distribution have nothing to with this, the effects reach far beyond their limits in terms of pricing and availability - both positive and negative". Steinberger says an indication for this, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) is the number of semiconductor sales into the industrial market worldwide through November 2012, which was well above the record year 2011. According to Steinberger, "in contrast to all the doomsayers the FBDi is optimistic about 2013, calling for light growth. The potential for German industry is by European and international comparison excellent". This optimism is clear, not in the least, in the FBDi business climate index* (based on the German school grading system), which in the previous quarter climbed to 3 (from 3.19) and is on the books with a long-term 2.65 (versus 2.81). Fachverband der Bauelemente Distribution e.V. (Professional Association of Component Distribution)