UK company acquires Irish security firm for €24m


17 Feb 2005

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UK security technology firm Smiths Group has agreed to acquire Irish company Farran Technology for €24m in cash. Farran develops and manufacturers detection systems to find hidden weapons and explosives.

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

Smiths develops technologically advanced security solutions to detect and identify explosives, chemical and biological agents, weapons and contraband. Employing trace detection technology together with Smiths Heimann X-ray imaging, Smiths Detection provides screening solutions for customers in civil and military markets worldwide.

Smiths designs and manufactures safety-critical systems and products, and has market-leading positions in aerospace systems, detection equipment, medical devices, and mechanical seals and interconnect products.

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. Farran’s 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.

Keith Butler-Wheelhouse, chief executive of Smiths Group, commented: “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.”

By John Kennedy