Smiths Detection - Smiths Group plc


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Where we operate

Our manufacturing centres are concentrated in North America, Germany, France, Malaysia 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

2014 Revenue £512m

2014 Operating profit margin 4.8%

Principal operations regions

Our manufacturing centres are concentrated in North America, Germany, France, 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 several regulated markets that require product certification
  • Technologies leveraged across a broad range of markets and applications
  • c. 30% of sales from aftermarket service and growing

Growth drivers

  • Persistent and evolving terror threats
  • Changing security regulations for cargo and passengers
  • Equipment replacement cycle – typically 7-10 years
  • New product and technology innovation benefitting mature markets
  • 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. All US sales and support activities are controlled under a Special Security Agreement with the US Department of Defense and managed by the operating subsidiary Smiths Detection Inc., to provide independent oversight of the business, its classified contracts and work.

Financial highlights

Revenue performance £m

Revenue by sector £512m

  1. Transportation 51%
  2. Ports and borders 15%
  3. Military 12%
  4. Emergency responders 3%
  5. Critical infrastructure 19%


Smiths Detection’s exposure to the homeland security and defence sectors brings it into competition with a wide range of companies in each end-use market. Principal competitors include: Morpho (air transportation), Rapiscan (air transportation, ports and borders, critical infrastructure), L-3 Security & Detection Systems (air transportation), Nuctech (ports and borders, critical infrastructure), Astrophysics (critical infrastructure), AS&E (ports and borders), Leidos (air transportation, ports and borders), Chemring (military), Bruker (military, emergency responders), and Thermo Fisher (military, emergency responders).


We are achieving increased synergies across manufacturing sites and aligning purchasing activity to ensure that we fully leverage the size of our business. These developments are ongoing and take into account the requirement for local content from some of our major customers, as well as our stringent quality and delivery standards.

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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
Copyright 2013 Smiths Group plc.
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