Smiths agrees £235 million cash acquisition

Smiths Group today announced that it has reached agreement with Rheinmetall Group of Germany to acquire its specialist X-ray business, Heimann Systems GmbH, for £235 million in cash.

According to a statement, the acquisition will be funded from Smiths’ existing borrowing facilities and is subject to the approval of the relevant national regulatory authorities in Europe.

Heimann produces in X-ray security systems and its products are primarily used in transportation security for inspecting luggage and freight to detect explosives and other hazardous or illegal contents. The equipment is also used to inspect mail, and to detect metal or other foreign matter.

Combining Heimann with Smiths’ trace detection technologies, which detect biological and chemical agents, explosives and narcotics, will give Smiths a unique ability to create integrated systems for the growing security market, worldwide.

Another of Heimann’s activities is biometric systems for the digital registration of fingerprints and palmprints, for law enforcement and civilian use.

Heimann’s turnover in the financial year ending 31 December 2001 was £104 million, earning pre-tax profits of £14 million. Worldwide demand for enhanced security systems has seen Heimann achieve a 50% increase in sales over the previous year.