- Health, safety and environmental technology group Halma warned on profit as the Covid-19 outbreak in the fourth quarter undid the 'good' progress it had made during the last six months. In an update for the period from 1 October 2019 to date, the company said it now expected adjusted pre-tax for the year to be in a range of approximately £265m to £270m, short of current market forecasts of £275.5m.

But the company said its financial position remained robust, with committed facilities totalling approximately £750m, of which around 60% were drawn. The earliest maturity in these facilities was for £77m in January 2021, with the remaining maturities from 2023 onwards.

Order intake, meanwhile, was currently ahead of revenue and ahead of the same period last year. 'This has been a strong year for M&A activity, with ten acquisitions completed across all four sectors, for a total initial consideration of £227m. We made seven acquisitions in the second half of the year,' he company added.

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