- Engineering company Smiths booked a 20% rise in first-half profit, but said that disruption to its business caused by Covid-19 was accelerating.

Net profit for the six months through through January increased to £145m, up from £121m, including discontinued operations.

Revenue from continuing operations rose 8% to £1.24bn, though pre-tax profit from continuing operations fell 48% to £46m.

'Trading to the end of March was affected to some extent by early Covid-19 disruption; this is now accelerating with impact on both demand and supply in the near-term,' Smiths said.

The company recently announced that it had delayed a planned spin off of its medical division due to Covid-19 uncertainty. It had also previously announced that it would not pay an interim dividend.

'Over the coming months, Covid-19 presents significant uncertainty and our number one priority is to keep our people safe and well,' chief executive Andy Reynolds said.

'We enter this period confident in our resilience and preparedness; financially, operationally and strategically.'

'We have clear plans underway to contain costs, flex our operations, maximise business continuity and conserve cash.'

At 8:40am: [LON:SMIN] Smiths Group PLC share price was -13.75p at 1046.75p

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