Smiths takes a tumble after 11pc profit fall

MULTINATIONAL engineering firm Smiths Group saw its shares fall the most of all companies on the FTSE 100 yesterday, as it revealed its pre-tax profits had plummeted 11 per cent in the last year to £445m.

Smiths Group shares fell six per cent yesterday to finish on 1,268p, as the engineering firm said the strength of the pound had hit its profits in the last year by £43m.

Smiths, founded in 1851 and which in July celebrated 100 years since its London Stock Exchange listing, also saw its revenues in the year to 31 July 2014 fall to £2.95bn, down five per cent on £3.11bn in 2013.

Smiths has five main divisions, with poorer results last year particularly from its medical and detection divisions hampering gains made in its Interconnect, Flex-Tek and John Crane divisions.

Government contracts are a big part of Smiths revenue, but it has been hit by US spending cuts in homeland security, healthcare and defence.

Analysts at Investec said: “Although we expect some progress in the 2015 financial year, the muted outlook statement suggests that this will be another year of hard work, with payback likely over a longer period.”

Smiths has more than 23,000 employees in over 50 countries.