Spectris raises profits from instrumentation - Embedded.com

Spectris raises profits from instrumentation

LONDON — Spectris plc (Egham, England), which owns 14 instrumentation and controls companies, has raised sales from continuing businesses by 7.6 percent at constant exchange rates while their profit before tax was up 26 percent to £39.4million (about $79million) in the six months ended June 30, 2007 compared with the same period in 2006.

Total group sales in the first half were £317.3million (about $635million) while sales from continuing businesses increased by 1.7 percent to £308.7million (about $618million).

Geographically, sales in Europe increased by 9 percent at constant currencies while organic sales in North America grew by 6 percent at constant currencies. Asia grew by 4 percent at constant currencies, with good growth in China and Japan offset by fewer large projects in other parts of the region. Sales in the rest of the world increased by 15 percent. In June Spectris sold its Ircon business to Fluke Electronics Corporation following on from the sale of Spectrum Inspection Systems to Illinois Tool Works Inc in February.

Spectris (Egham, England) principal activity is developing and marketing precision instrumentation and controls and is the parent company of 14 individual businesses including Brüel & Kjær Sound & Vibration Transducers (Nærum Denmark), Fusion UV Systems (Gaithersburg, MD), Malvern Instruments (Malvern, England), PANalytical (Almelo, Netherlands), BTG (Eclepens, Switzerland), Servomex (Crowborough, England) and HBM (Darmstadt, Germany).

Sales by its process technology companies increased by 2 percent to £163.4 million, and by 9 percent at constant currencies. Operating profit increased by 16 percent to £19.2 million and operating margins improved by 1.4 percentage points to 11.8 percent.

Demand from the pharmaceutical industry continued to be strong for Malvern, PANalytical and Particle Measuring Systems in Europe and, increasingly, in Asia as the globalisation of pharmaceutical markets continues. India and China are growing in importance as key countries for multinational pharmaceutical companies to carry out manufacturing and research activities.

According to John O'Higgins, Spectris chief executive. there is evidence of some slowdown in demand in North America as the pharmaceutical industry restructures in response to the increase in the use of generic prescription drugs and the growth in emerging markets. Sales in the in-line instrumentation sector increased by 1 percent to £78.7 million, and by 6 percent at constant currencies. Operating profit grew by 39 percent to £10.7 million, with operating margins improving by 3.8 percentage points to 13.6 percent.

In the pulp and paper industry a number of new paper mills have come on stream, particularly in Asia and South America, as investment increases to meet rising demand created by firmer pulp prices, which is starting to benefit BTG’s instrumentation business.

Strong demand in the rubber market in Asia, particularly China, helped drive sales of NDC’s scanning systems. Demand from the converting market in North America continued to be good as investment in new production lines continued and investment in flexible packaging and label production recovered.

Sales in the electronic controls sector increased by 2 percent to £66.6 million, and by 7 percent at constant currencies. Operating profit grew by 36 percent to £9.5 million and operating margins increased by 3.6 percentage points to 14.3 percent.

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