The Daily Telegraph

Smiths Group gains from rush to buy security scanners

- By Alan Tovey

GROWING terrorism concerns which lifted demand for security scanners have bolstered diversifie­d engineerin­g business Smiths Group.

The blue-chip business used its halfyear results to reveal a 33pc rise in sales, to £318m, at its detection business, which makes the screening equipment used to identify explosives and weapons at airports.

Major orders from Abu Dhabi and Berlin Brandenbur­g airports boosted revenue at the division, which makes up 20pc of the group’s total revenues.

The weak pound also boosted the performanc­e, with growth on an underlying basis a more modest 12pc. Smiths said the growth rate in the division was expected to ease in the second half.

Detection’s stronger performanc­e in the six months to the end of January offset troubles elsewhere. The John Crane unit, which makes equipment for the energy industry, is suffering because of the low oil price, and the medical division is also weathering a slowdown.

Each of these units makes up about 30pc of total revenue. On a group level, revenue was up 18pc to £1.6bn, but was flat on an underlying basis when sterling’s weakness is stripped out. Headline profit was 31pc higher at £248m, and 10pc higher on an underlying measure. The interim dividend was raised 2.3pc to 13.55p a share. The shares closed up 2.9pc at £16.01.

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