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Specialist engineering supports Smiths Group through slump

Engineering giant Smiths Group said its ducting, hosing, heating and ventilation businesses had performed well over the past year, but had been hit by the downturn in the world economy.

In a trading update for the six months to February 2, Smiths Group reported higher sales and margins for its speciality engineering arm – including Flex-Tek Group which has Flexible Ducting Ltd, Gastite and Thermaflex on its company roster.

This strong performance off set a flat performance in its medical equipment operations
The announcement has increased speculation on the strategy set to be followed by chief executive Philip Bowman (pictured) - who only took on his role in December 2007.

The company statement said: “Smiths Specialty Engineering has performed well with increased sales and margins. In Flex-Tek a good performance in sales of fluid distribution components and services for commercial and military aircraft helped to offset the impact of the decline in the US residential construction market.”

Smiths Group employs more than 20,000 people in over 50 countries. A full statement will be made on March 19 when it announces its interim results.