Smiths Group plc is expanding the range of technologies offered by its Detection division, with the acquisition of Farran Technology Ltd. The company, which is based in Cork, Republic of Ireland, is owned by its local founders, its management and two Irish venture capital funds. Smiths is acquiring the business for an initial €19 M plus deferred performance-related consideration up to a maximum of €5 M. The acquisition is being satisfied in cash.

Farran Technology is developing millimetre wave technologies for the detection of hidden weapons and explosives and for other applications. Using the electromagnetic radiation naturally emitted by all objects, the company 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.

It is believed that Farran’s technology, together with Smiths Group’s extensive experience in manufacturing and marketing high tech products, will provide the basis for expanding the company’s millimetre wave products and services. Commenting on the acquisition, Keith Butler-Wheelhouse, chief executive of Smiths Group, said, “Smiths Detection is a world-leading business in a growth market, and it is important that we maintain the momentum by broadening the technology base. 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.”