Sky’s the limit for e2v

Technology group e2v, the developer and manufacturer of advanced electronic components and sub-systems, will enter 2006 on an upbeat note.

Technology group e2v, the developer and manufacturer of advanced electronic components and sub-systems, will enter 2006 on an upbeat note after unveiling a £2m half-year profit and a trio of new contracts. The interim surplus contrasted with a £1.1m loss for the Chelmsford company at the same stage last year.

The group was further boosted by three significant business deals, worth between them almost £17m, and spanning both its major divisions of sensors and electronic tubes.

The biggest of the new contracts, at £9.6m, came from ESA, which will use e2v’s sensors on the GAIA project. The company also won a £4.3m order to supply travelling wave electronic tubes for the Eurofighter Typhoon’s defensive aids sub-system (DASS) and a £3m contract from a US-based dental technology group to provide X-ray sensors.

Another major initiative in the half-year was the acquisition of Gresham Scientific Instruments, a leading manufacturer of systems for energy dispersive X-ray and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. These products are used within scanning and transmission electron microscopes, in a wide range of applications in the scientific arena and in wider industrial contexts, such as mining and detection of heavy metals in food.

The acquisition will benefit the enlarged group in two ways, claimed e2v. It broadens its sensors portfolio, while offering Gresham the opportunity to establish a presence in the US, where it can capitalise on its global distribution channels.

With 75 per cent of turnover coming from exports in 2005, north America is now a target area.

During the six months to September, the group’s electronic tubes division enjoyed a 12.8 per cent increase in sales. Its medical and science business also saw growth, driven by increased demand for radiotherapy and customers in cargo screening applications.

Aerospace and defence sales grew by 36 per cent to £6.3m. This was mainly due to the business secured by e2v for Typhoon DASS, with the company under contract to supply the requirement for a fleet of 380 aircraft over 30 months.

According to chief executive Keith Attwood, this leaves e2v in the running to take part in the potentially lucrative upgrade programme for the US fast jet fleet. This is one of several areas of future opportunity for the group, he said.

‘The prospects for substantial investment across the world in the next generation of major scientific facilities at national laboratories continues to improve, and the group is well placed to supply advanced electronic tubes and complementary products.’

Attwood added that, in an effort to ensure access to emerging technologies the group has signed four knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs) — with Queen Mary University London, and Nottingham, Manchester and Surrey universities. This complemented the e2v centre for Electronic Imaging, which was opened at Brunel earlier this year.