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Smiths Group shares lead small band of FTSE 100 gainers

·1-min read
FTSE 100 engineering company has provided technology used by NASA’s Mars rover on the red planet   ((NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS))
FTSE 100 engineering company has provided technology used by NASA’s Mars rover on the red planet ((NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS))

Surging profits at Smiths Group sent shares in the FTSE 100 engineering and technology company to the top of the London stock index’s leaderboard on Friday.

The St James’s square-based maker of airport security scanners and fuel manifolds used by NASA reported revenue of over £2.5 billion, up almost 4%. Pre-tax profit crossed above £1 billion. It also lifted its forecasts, predicting organic revenue growth of between 4% and 4.5% for 2023, helped by a strong order book and despite the “uncertain macro environment.”

Smiths reduced its debt burden by $380 million and said it was dealing with cost inflation via “productivity programmes and pricing actions,” although it also said that “supply chain challenges continue”.

The company, which bought the John Crane engineering company of the US in 2000, also makes electronic signalling components used in the rover vehicles that explored Mars. Companies that earn revenue in dollars and book profits in sterling benefit from a weaker pound. Sterling is down by about 18% against the US currency this year.

Smiths shares rose over 2% to 1501p, the biggest rise on the FTSE 100, where there were only five stocks that gained as the wider market was hit by a sharp sell-off in reaction to the government’s plan for the biggest set of tax cuts since the 1970s.