* 2011 underlying profit rise 31 pct
* Acquires two firms for $60 million
* Says search continues for new CEO
* Shares up 3 pct
(Adds details, share movement)
March 2 Britain's Laird plc said
it expected acquisitions and strong demand for its electronic
components used in tablets and smartphones to bolster growth in
The company -- a major supplier for Apple's iPhones
and iPads -- posted a 31 percent jump in full-year underlying
profit and said it acquired two firms for a total of $60
"We expect the underlying demand for our products to
continue to grow as electronic devices continue to evolve,"
Laird said in a statement.
Laird, which was founded as a shipbuilding company in 1824,
makes electromagnetic shielding and heat control devices that go
into tablets, phones, TVs and gaming consoles.
"Consumer demand for such devices, notably smartphones and
tablets, is not unaffected by subdued economic conditions, but
the emergence of China and India as substantial endmarkets is
expected to underpin ongoing growth in the future," J.P. Morgan
Cazenove analysts wrote in a note.
London-based Laird posted an underlying profit of 52.7
million pounds ($84.10 million) for 2011, up from 40.2 million
pounds, a year ago.
Revenue from continuing operations rose 19 percent to 491.3
Demand trends in the first two months of 2012 have not been
similar to the year-ago period due to an early Chinese New Year.
But the company was confident of growth this year, Executive
Chairman Nigel Keen said on a call with reporters.
"What happened in February last year happened in January
this year. And that will ripple through," Keen said. "But it's
looking pretty firm."
CEO Keen said the company expected to spend 50-100 million
pounds a year on acquisitions
The acquisitions of MMG and Summit Technologies announced on
Friday were expected to add $20 million to $25 million in
revenue in 2012.
It expected these newly added businesses to grow at more
than 10 percent, and add to 2012 earnings.
Laird said it continued to look for a chief executive to
replace Peter Hill, who stepped down in November due to ill
health. Keen took over the controls of the company.
The company, which last year rejected a takeover offer from
Cooper Industries, raised its final dividend by 26
percent to 5.3 pence a share.
Laird's shares, which have risen 35 percent in the last
three months, were trading up 3 percent at 177.3 pence at 0925
GMT on Friday on the London Stock Exchange.
($1 = 0.6266 British pounds)
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni