Premier Farnell

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Premier Farnell Ltd
Industry Electronics
Founded 1939
Headquarters Leeds, UK
Key people
Chris Breslin, President
Revenue £960.1 million (2015)[1]
£83.1 million (2015)[1]
£47.5 million (2015)[1]
Parent Avnet

Premier Farnell Ltd is a British distributor of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair throughout Europe, North America and Asia Pacific with operations in 36 countries and trading in over 100.[2] On 17 October 2016, Avnet completed its acquisition of Premier Farnell in a deal valued at approximately £691 million.[3]


The company was founded by Alan Farnell and Arthur Woffenden in 1939 in Leeds under the name of A.C. Farnell Limited.[4] It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1966.[4] The company was located next to the Wetherby railway station: as it grew it moved into larger offices on the town's Sandbeck Industrial Estate, and then in 1995, into offices in Armley.[5]

In 1995 it acquired Combined Precision Components.[6] As it focused on distribution, its manufacturing operations were sold the same year.[4] In 1996 it went on to buy the Premier Industrial Corporation, a leading United States distributor,[7] and in doing so changed its name to Premier Farnell.[4]

In 2001 Premier Farnell went on to acquire Buck & Hickman,[8] a company which it subsequently went on to sell in 2007.[9] Premier Farnell announced in 2006 the completed sale of Kent, its specialist automotive consumables business.[10]

The company underwent significant change in the mid-2000s, developing from a catalogues and trade counter business into an e-commerce operation, under the direction of Harriet Green, CEO, who joined the business in 2006.[11][12]

In 2007 the group launched its Greater China business, Premier Electronics, with the opening of a new warehouse and distribution centre in WaiGaoQiao.[13]

Towards the end of 2008 Premier Farnell began the closure of Cadillac Electric (part of the group's Industrial Products Division).[14] During the course of 2008 Premier Farnell also acquired Hynetic Electronics,[15] an Indian distributor, and in early 2009 Premier Farnell went on to acquire Microdis Electronics, an electronics distributor based in Poland.[16]

On 24 September 2009, it announced the acquisition of CadSoft Computer GmbH, developer of EAGLE electronic design automation software,[17] which it later sold in 2016.[18]

On 17 March 2016, Premier Farnell sold its Akron Brass subsidiary to IDEX Corporation for $224.2 million.[19]

On 17 October 2016, Avnet completed its acquisition of Premier Farnell in a deal valued at approximately £691 million.[3]


The Raspberry Pi single-board computer.

The Premier Farnell group trades globally under the following company names:[20]

element14 Group

Non Core Brands

  • CPC in the UK
  • Shenzhen Embest Technology
  • MCM Electronics in the United States
  • AVID Technologies


Premier Farnell stocks 600,000 products across its regional warehouses.[2] It also sells about half of the Raspberry Pi computers distributed worldwide.[21]


The group is part of the FTSE4Good Index of Corporate and Social Responsibility and is also a Gold status member participating in the Business in The Community (BiTC) Corporate Responsibility Index - a group of over 800 UK companies who are committed to having a positive impact on the environment and society. 2012.[22]

  • ECMOD Direct Commerce Award for the best online business B2B 2012 [23]
  • BiTC Corporate Responsibility Index – Platinum status 2012 [24]
  • Ethisphere Institute – Worlds Most Ethical Companies List 2012 [25]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2015" (PDF). Premier Farnell. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Our Company -what we do". Premier Farnell. 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Avnet completes the acquisition of Premier Farnell PLC". Wall Street online. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d "History". Premier Farnell. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Farnell: Armley office workers give school makeover". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Farnell Electronics". FT Business. 1995. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "pounds 1.9bn Premier buy to propel Farnell into Footsie". The Independent. 24 January 1996. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Buck & Hickman celebrate 180 years of success". Coventry Telegraph. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Engineering Products, Services & Suppliers | Source". Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Premier Farnell sells Kent auto business". EE Times. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Thomas Cook's Harriet Green: 'My challenge in life is achieving balance'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Harriet Green, CEO Premier Farnell awarded O.B.E for services to the electronics industry". Farnell UK. 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Premier Farnell Heads East With Launch of New Business in China". PR Newswire. 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Michigan's Cadillac Electric Closes Doors". Electrical Wholesaling. 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Premier Farnell Acquires Assets of Hynetic Electronics". 5 February 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Premier Farnell buys part of Microdis Electronics". E-biz. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "Premier Farnell buys design software firm CadSoft". Electronics Weekly. September 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Premier Farnell Completes Sale Of Cadsoft To Autodesk". Morningstar. June 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  19. ^ "IDEX Corporation Completes Acquisition of Akron Brass". IDEX Corporation. March 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  20. ^ "What we do". Premier Farnell. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Raspberry Pi sales fail to turn around Premier Farnell's luck". 20 September 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Profile". Premier Farnell. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "ECMOD Direct Commerce Award Winners". Direct Commerce. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Premier Farnell retains Business in the Community Platinum status for third year running". 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  25. ^ "Premier Farnell retains Business in the Community Platinum status for third year running | Europe, Miscellaneous, Miscellaneous, UK News". 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 

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