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A key Apple supplier has hinted that its revenue from Cupertino has plummeted in recent months.

Laird Plc, which makes heat-control components and electromagnetic shielding for use in wireless devices, said revenue from its "largest customer" fell 17 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2012. It did not name the customer as Apple, but it has previously admitted that Cupertino is its biggest buyer, analysts told Reuters.

Laird also said it expected revenue to fall further in the next quarter, before rallying with a period of growth in the second half of the year. The electric-components maker's cunning plan appears to coincide with Apple's roadmap for the release of new iPhones and iPads later in the year.

However, the fruity firm is facing stiff and ever-increasing competition from rivals such as Samsung, which could cause it to order fewer components for the next generation of mobile devices.

In a statement, Laird said: "Revenue with our largest customer was 17 per cent lower year on year. As a result operating margin has been impacted by lower revenue and lower overhead absorption on an expanded production base.

"As stated in our full year results announcement in March, we continue to expect revenues to be weighted towards the second half of the year."

The firm's total revenue in the first quarter was £119m versus £122m in 2012, a fall of 2 per cent.

A number of Apple suppliers have reported a drooping profits over the past six weeks. ®

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