London-based electronics group Laird Technologies has said that customer demand for 2009 remains uncertain following a 32 per cent decline in like-for-like sales for the three months ending March.

The company’s underlying profit-margin percentage in the first quarter was in mid single-digits, working capital remained in line with demand and inventory was reduced from year-end levels.

In a statement ahead of the company’s AGM, chairman Nigel Keen said that the challenging economic environment had impacted on all of the group’s divisions: ‘Our results in the second half of the year were impacted both by the global economic downturn and by the associated de-stocking in the global supply-chain, particularly in the fourth quarter.

‘We have repositioned the business to operate successfully in the changed economic and market environment, with prompt actions taken to lower our operating costs.

‘Our visibility of customer demand remains limited.

‘Although our revenues overall appear to have stabilised so far this year, compared with the falls seen in the fourth quarter of 2008 we have yet to see any evidence of a sustained improvement in demand.’

Laird expects its first half performance to be considerably worse than the levels seen in the first half of 2008.

However, it said that it will continue its expansion into new ranges of products to take advantage of opportunities when the market returns to growth.