Smiths sells stake in Cross Match for $77m

ENGINEERING group Smiths said yesterday it had sold its interest in US biometric specialist Cross Match Technologies for $77m (£49.4m).

The sale to Francisco Partners is part of Smiths’ move to offload non-core businesses. Smiths will receive $69m in cash on completion from the Florida-based private equity firm.

A further $8m will go into an escrow account to meet any possible legal claims for up to 15 months.

Smiths landed the stake in Cross Match as part of a deal for the Heimann Biometrics business in 2005.

Chief executive of the FTSE 100 company Philip Bowman said: “As I indicated at our interim results in March, we are looking to simplify our portfolio.

“This disposal helps us to focus on our core businesses in driving revenue growth, operational improvements, enhanced margins and strong cash conversion.”

At the end of May the company announced that Paul Cox, president of its oil and gas subsidiary John Crane, was stepping down immediately.

Meanwhile in its most recent trading update Smiths said that in the nine months to 28 April sales had risen thanks to the acquisition of Power Holdings. It paid $235m for the engineering business last year.