LONDON One of the U.K.'s oldest engineering groups, Laird Group, is set to focus on electronics technology following its decision to sell its security systems division to private equity group Lupus Capital for £242 million ($471 million).
Laird (London, England) will now concentrate on antennas for mobile phones, electromagnetic interference shields and thermal interfaces, having in the past year expanded in all the three sectors organically and through acquisitions.
The company makes EMI components for companies such as Motorola and Nokia and thermal interfaces for Cisco.
The security systems division made products such as conservatories, PVC doors and seals. In its early years, having started a century ago, the Laird Group was best known for making ships and railway carriages, and once these activities were shed, focused on car parts in Europe and computer assembly in North America.
The electronics activity was started in the early 1990's, and includes operation such as U.S. antenna maker Centurion Wireless. The company suggests that, following the disposal of the security systems operation, almost a half of revenues would come from components for mobile phones.
Peter Hill, chief executive, said the sale of the security systems business was "the end of the beginning" for Laird, which has been bolstering its high-technolgy operations for several years.
Laird said revenues at the technology division grew fourfold between 2003 and 2006, and profits grew fivefold. Most of this has come through acquisitions. "The security systems division has been very helpful in supporting this growth, and the time is now right for a separation," said Hill.