28 January 2005

Smiths Group: current trading

Smiths Group will announce its interim results on Wednesday 16 March for the six months ended 31 January 2005. Ahead of its close period, the company confirms that its current trading is in line with market expectations.

Smiths is benefiting from strong underlying growth and a good contribution from recent acquisitions. Sales and operating profit in the first half of 2005 are expected to be ahead of the same period in 2004, despite the effect of the weaker dollar on translation of US earnings. This performance, combined with lower interest, improved pensions financing and a lower tax rate is expected to contribute to an increase in EPS (before exceptionals and goodwill amortisation) for the six months.

Aerospace is already benefiting from an upswing in commercial aircraft demand. Detections growth in this period is likely to be modest, due to contract phasing. Medical, most affected by the weaker dollar, will be steady in this period. Specialty Engineering is performing well, with Interconnect contributing strongly.

The acquisition of Medex, announced in December, is progressing towards completion.

Looking ahead to the full year, Smiths confirms that it is expecting a strong performance in the second half, again in line with market expectations.

ENDS