Instrumentation and controls developer Spectris has acquired US-based ReliaSoft for approximately £28m in cash. The FTSE 250 group said the deal for the American firm, a provider of engineering software and consultancy, will be funded from existing cash and bank facilities. The Arizona-based firm will be integrated with HBM nCode within Spectris' test and measurement division, the group added in a statement on Friday
2013 Trading Update notification - 17 January 2014
10 January 2014 - Spectris plc (SXS: LSE), the productivity-enhancing instrumentation and controls company, will announce its 2013 full year trading update on Friday 17 January 2014 at 07:00 BST. John O'Higgins, Chief Executive and Clive Watson, Group Finance Director, will host an investor and analyst conference call at 08:00 GMT.
"The difficult market conditions in the second half of 2012 provided a backdrop for Spectris to demonstrate the quality and resilience of its business model," Michael Blogg, an analyst at Investec, commented this morning.
"We have revised our estimates from a basis of ultra-caution to a level achievable in a low-growth environment, with upside potential if markets recover more quickly. The increase in our target price, driven by the 6-7% increase in our earnings per share (EPS) estimates, is not quite enough to justify a more positive recommendation than hold."
He added: "Spectris has the spread and market presence to deliver growth in most circumstances, augmented by its organic and bolt-on investments financed out of cash flows and overseen by a highly-respected management team.
"It is now within striking distance of the FTSE 100, where we believe it would not look out of place in terms of investment quality.
"The board is confident that Spectris continues to be strategically well-positioned for 2013 and beyond."
The group said it expects to see growth in its Life Sciences sector continue, but said its Mining sector looks set to continue to slow in the first half of 2013.
"We also see potential in the emerging nano-materials sector, creating demand from academic research institutions, as well as in-house research and development laboratories in the pharmaceutical and advanced materials sectors," it said.
Sales in Test & Measurement rose 3.0% on a like-for-like basis, while operating profit grew 0.7%, helped by strong demand from the electronics and telecoms markets and continued growth in automotive.
In-line Instrumentation sales climbed 4.0%, and operating profit rose 0.5%, after it experienced good demand from Asia Pacific, Japan and China in particular.
Productivity-enhancing instrumentation company Spectris posted an 11 per cent rise in annual sales for 2012, contributing to the same percentage rise in adjusted earnings per share.
Sales for the 12 months climbed from 1,106.2m to 1,230.8m year-on-year, while adjusted profit before tax increased to 217.3m from 191.6m, resulting in adjusted earnings per share of 137.5p (2011: 124.1p).
Actual pre-tax profit totalled 186.7m, compared to 166m the previous year. The dividend was increased by 16% from 33.6p to 39.0p per share.
John O'Higgins, Chief Executive, said: "This strong result was achieved through the progress we made on all aspects of our strategy. We will continue to invest in new products and applications which enhance our customers' productivity, seek further geographic growth opportunities across the group, and improve the resilience of the business through organic and acquisition activities.
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