(Alliance News) - RS Group PLC on Thursday said its Chief Executive Officer Lindsley Ruth will take a leave of absence due to "personal reasons" with immediate effect, and reported "strong" first half performance.
Shares were down 11% at 845.35 pence each on Thursday morning in London.
RS Group is a London-based industrial and electronic products distributor.
In his absence, RS said Chief Financial Officer David Egan will assume Ruth's duties, with strong support from members of the group's senior management team.
Chair Rona Fairhead said: "Under Lindsley we have built a great business and he has our support through this period. The board are very grateful to David and our experienced senior management team for stepping up and we are confident that we will maintain good momentum in the business."
Separately, RS said revenue in the six months to September 30 jumped 21% year-on-year to GBP1.46 billion from GBP1.21 billion.
This included GBP48.7 million from favourable exchange rate movements, and GBP2.3 million from acquisitions, offset by a GBP8.0 million hit from reduced trading days.
Pretax profit rose 34% to GBP182.5 million from GBP136.1 million, as operating profit increased by 34% to GBP187.0 million from GBP138.1 million a year earlier.
Acting Chief Executive Officer David Egan said: "We have delivered a strong revenue and profit performance in the first half as our differentiated proposition continues to resonate with all our stakeholders. While mindful of a slowing economic backdrop, we remain optimistic that we will continue to outperform the market."
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 30% to GBP222.4 million from GBP170/5 million.
RS declared an interim dividend of 7.2 pence per share, up 13% from 6.4p a year prior.
Looking ahead, RS said trading over the first four weeks of the second half has been in line with expectations. "Notwithstanding the tougher global economic environment, trading remains in line with our and consensus expectations for the full year," it said.
In early October, RS anticipated full-year revenue and adjusted profit to be "slightly ahead" of market consensus.
Revenue consensus stands at GBP2.86 billion, with adjusted operating profit expected at GBP364.9 million, and adjusted pretax profit estimated at GBP357.7 million.
By Xindi Wei; email@example.com
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