Smiths Detection eyes S. American security products market

May 26, 2011 at 6:19 AM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, May 26 (UPI) -- Threat monitoring leader Smiths Detection has set sights on business expansion in Latin America after it bought up the Brazilian company so far responsible for distribution and sales in the region.

Smiths Detection, a U.K. company that makes nearly half its sales in the United States, has boosted its earnings with equipment developed in response to emerging threats from terrorism.

Its advances in scanning devices for airports and border checkpoints and equipment for monitoring chemical contamination and -- in worst-case scenarios -- biological and chemical warfare has won Smiths Detection new clients in Europe and elsewhere.

The company said it purchased Brazilian distributor EBCO Systems Limited to take direct control over sales of its advanced security and detection products in one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

"EBCO has been an outstanding partner for us in Brazil over the years and its full integration into Smiths Detection's global business will strengthen our position as the country's leading supplier of detection solutions," said Cherif Rizkalla, chief commercial officer of Smiths Detection.

Brazil's growing awareness of threats to its security from crime gangs or hostile foreign interests led the government to embark on a major military modernization program that includes extensive refurbishment of security infrastructures and the armed forces.

Smiths Detection offers screening technologies for military, transportation, homeland security and resilience applications. The company has worked through several stages of development to offer counteraction and defenses against biological and chemicals agents, narcotics, weapons and illegal items.

EBCO, with headquarters in Sao Paulo, has been the exclusive distributor for Smiths Detection in Brazil since 1994, selling and servicing a wide range of X-ray and trace detection systems to customs authorities, airports and prisons.

Lately, with accumulation of wealth among corporations and high net worth individuals, interest in security products has grown outside the public sector.

The newly formed Smiths Detection Brazil will comprise the sales and service organization of EBCO's security and detection side and will employ about 55 people. The purchased company's gross assets totaled $2 million, while EBCO's separate airfield lighting business is unaffected.

Smiths Group Chief Executive Philip Bowman said, "Brazil is one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in the world. The acquisition gives us direct control over a well-established sales and service network to leverage long-term value from the expanding market and allow us to maximize in-country profits."

Smiths Detection systems are deployed throughout the vast country, from airports and ports in major cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to remote border crossings in the Amazon.

Smiths Group employs around 23,000 people in more than 50 countries.

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