Smiths Detection - Smiths Group plc


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Where we operate

Our nine manufacturing centres are concentrated in North America, Germany, France, Russia and the UK.

We sell to over 180 countries around the world either direct or through third-party distributors.

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Smiths Detection is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of sensors that detect and identify explosives, weapons, chemical agents, biohazards, nuclear and radioactive material, narcotics and contraband.

Our technology helps customers in the global transportation, ports and borders, critical infrastructure, military and emergency responder markets. We have the most comprehensive range of detection technologies in the world, including -ray, trace detection, infra-red and gamma ray spectroscopy, and millimetre-wave.

Key facts

Employees 2,250

2013 Revenue £559m

2013 Operating profit margin 10.4%

Principal operations regions

Our nine manufacturing centres are concentrated in North America, Germany, France, Russia, Malaysia and the UK. We sell to over 180 countries around the world either direct or through third-party distributors.

Competitive strengths

  • Market leader with strong global brand
  • Operates in regulated markets that require product certification
  • Technology leveraged across broad range of markets and applications
  • c. 25% of sales from aftermarket service and growing
  • Global sales and service network with strong emerging market presence

Growth drivers

  • Evolving terror threats
  • Security regulations on cargo and passengers
  • Replacement cycle – typically 7-10 years
  • New product launches
  • Growth of security infrastructure in emerging markets


A significant majority of sales are influenced by more than 100 governments and their agencies, including homeland security authorities, customs authorities, emergency responders and the military. These include the US Department of Defense, US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Financial highlights

Revenue performance £m

Revenue by sector £559m

  1. Transportation 51%
  2. Ports and borders 17%
  3. Military 12%
  4. Emergency responders 3%
  5. Critical infrastructure 16%
  6. Non-security 1%


Smiths Detection’s broad portfolio in the homeland security and defence sectors brings it into competition with a wide range of companies in individual segments. Principal competitors include: Morpho (air transportation), Rapiscan (air transportation, ports and borders, critical infrastructure), L3 Security & Detection Systems (air transportation), Nuctech (ports and borders), AS&E (ports and borders), FLIR (air transportation, defence), SAIC (ports and borders), Chemring (military), Bruker (military, emergency responders), and Thermo Fisher (military, emergency responders).


We are actively developing synergies across sites and restructuring our purchasing group to ensure that we fully leverage the size of our business. These developments will be on-going taking into account the demand for local content with some of our major customers as well as our stringent quality and delivery requirements. Our procurement team has now been centralised and our engagement with suppliers is being standardised across all business operations.

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Celebrating 100 years on the London Stock Exchange

Smiths Group divisions:

John Crane, Smiths Medical, Smiths Detection, Smiths Interconnect, Flex-Tek

Smiths Group plc:
Registered office 2nd Floor, Cardinal Place, 80 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JL
Incorporated in England No. 137013
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