16 February 2005

Smiths strengthens detection activities with acquisition of Farran Technology

Smiths Group plc announced today that it is expanding the range of technologies offered by its rapidly growing Detection division, with the acquisition of Farran Technology Limited. Farran, based in the Republic of Ireland, is developing millimetre wave technologies for the detection of hidden weapons and explosives and for other applications.

Using the electromagnetic radiation naturally emitted by all objects, Farran is applying its millimetre wave technology to create an image that pinpoints the presence on a person of metallic, ceramic and other materials, including plastic explosives. Farrans detection portal, which uses its established millimetre wave technology, has been tested successfully in the laboratory and prototype field trials are expected to begin within 12 months.

Smiths Detection is a world-leading business in a growth market, and it is important that we maintain the momentum by broadening the technology base, commented Keith Butler-Wheelhouse, chief executive of Smiths Group. The technology which Farran brings to us will strengthen our ability to provide advanced security solutions, particularly in the transportation sector."

Stephen Phipson, Group Managing Director of Smiths Detection added: "There is an urgent global requirement for equipment that screens people for explosives and hidden objects. The Farran technology complements our x-ray and trace detection equipment widely used for airport and building security, and ensures that we stay at the forefront in the development of detection systems.

Farran designs and produces its own millimetre-wave sensors which are vital to future portal development. It also designs and manufactures high performance microwave subsystems components for broadband wireless and imaging applications. It is one of very few companies outside the USA with high frequency design capabilities in this field.

Smiths Detection plans to expand Farrans research and development activity to support the continued growth of its microwave sub-systems operations.

Farran Technology is owned by its local founders, its management and two Irish venture capital funds. Smiths is acquiring the business for an initial 19 million plus deferred performance-related consideration up to a maximum of 5 million. The acquisition is being satisfied in cash. Farran is based in Cork, the Republic of Ireland, where it was founded in 1977 to supply microwave components and sub-systems to laboratories.

ENDS