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19 December 2000

Smiths Group plc is expanding its interests in specialised equipment for wireless broadband communications, with the $25.2 million (17.1m) acquisition of Radio Waves, Inc. A leading US supplier of antennas for high frequency microwave communications, Radio Waves is the fifth interconnect products acquisition by Smiths this year, at a total cost of $156 million (100m).

Commenting on the latest acquisition, chief executive Keith Butler-Wheelhouse said:
Wireless telecoms is the worlds fastest growing industrial sector and, by assimilating specialist businesses such as Radio Waves, Smiths is making a determined and successful effort to become a major player in that market. Radio Waves is a company matching Smiths target profile, including strong market shares for its main products and technical superiority in electronic components used in the wireless telecoms infrastructure.

This deal also shows that we are continuing our programme of medium-size bolt-on acquisitions, in parallel with the successful merger and current integration process with TI Group.

Smiths investment programme in the wireless telecoms sector this year has included US businesses making interconnect devices to protect sensitive electronic circuits and control signal strength. Radio Waves will operate alongside these, as well as existing businesses making complementary products including microwave cable. This will enhance Smiths opportunities to provide customers with a wider product range as an integrated package.

Founded in 1983, Radio Waves designs and manufactures a range of antennas for terrestrial microwave applications, including telecommunications, data communications, private networks and broadcasting. Annual sales growth in excess of 25% has been achieved by the company in each of the last four years, resulting from the high levels of investment in the infrastructure required for wireless broadband telecommunications. Radio Waves has annual sales of approximately $17 million, is privately owned and employs some 70 people at its facility near Boston, Massachusetts.

The consideration of $25.2 million was paid in cash and completion of the acquisition was simultaneous with the signing of the purchase agreement.

In addition to Radio Waves, the four interconnect companies that have been acquired by Smiths this year, are Sabritec, EMC Technology, LEA International, and Florida RF Labs. They are all US businesses.


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