Demand stays strong at Smiths’ detection arm

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The airport scanners and bomb detection arm of conglomerate Smiths weathered the impact of government budget cuts yesterday with a 13 per cent rise in full-year profits.

Despite homeland and defence security budgets in the division’s largest market of the US being constrained in election year, Smiths achieved a 17 per cent recovery in revenues over the second half of the financial year to June 30.

The company, which makes sensors used in finding explosives, weapons and drugs, said this was driven by ports, borders and transportation and in protection for government buildings, utilities and prisons.

Revenues from emerging markets grew by 10 per cent with prospects helped by new airports and terminals under construction in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Across the financial year in the detection arm, revenues were 3 per cent higher at £519m, while underlying profits lifted 13 per cent to £69m.

Overall, the group, which employs 23,000 people across five divisions, 2,000 of whom are in the UK, recorded a 7 per cent rise in underlying profits to £497m, boosted by the performance of its oil and gas division John Crane.

However, bottom-line profits fell by £32m to £366m.