Download PDF version

Halma releases an update regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Full Year Results announcement and AGM.

Halma continue to expect the group’s adjusted profit before tax for the year ended 31 March 2020 to be in a range of £265 million to £270 million, in line with the guidance given in the group’s scheduled Trading Update on 19 March 2020. Halma expects revenues to be approximately £1,330 million and year-end net debt (excluding the impact of IFRS16) to be approximately £320 million.

Halma expects to release the group’s preliminary results on 14 July 2020. This date has been agreed in consultation with the group’s auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and reflects the challenges of completing the audit of a geographically dispersed group given the travel restrictions and enhanced safe-working practices currently in place. Accordingly, the group’s AGM will take place in early September 2020.

Balance sheet and liquidity

The group’s financial position remains robust with committed facilities totaling approximately £750 million (at current exchange rates). The earliest maturity in these facilities is for £74 million (at current exchange rates) in January 2021, with the remaining maturities from 2023 onwards.

Each of the group’s companies is implementing an operating plan to suit its market and local circumstances

The financial covenants on these facilities are for leverage (net debt/adjusted EBITDA) to not be more than three times and for adjusted interest cover to be not less than four times.

Currently, Halma does not intend to utilize the UK government’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility, although the group have taken the prudent step of confirming Halma’s eligibility in principle, subject to establishing an appropriate commercial paper program.

COVID-19 impact, challenges and the group’s responses

Halma has a long track record of successfully adapting to societal shifts and changes in markets. Halma believes that their agile business model, and the group’s focus on critical safety, health, and environmental market niches, will enable the group to perform relatively resiliently and contribute to the global efforts to deal with COVID-19.

Partnering with the group’s central and regional COVID-19 support groups, the first of which was established in January 2020 following the initial outbreak in China, each of the group’s companies is implementing an operating plan to suit its market and local circumstances.

Mandate or permission from regional or national authorities

The group’s 43 operating companies have a total of 54 principal operating facilities spread across the UK, the USA, Mainland Europe and Asia. Over 30 of the group’s companies deliver critical safety, healthcare and environmental protection solutions and have a mandate or permission from regional or national authorities to continue to operate during shutdown restrictions.

Currently, following the re-opening of the group’s fire safety business in Italy last week, there are only two facilities, in California and Tunisia, which are closed due to government shutdown restrictions. However, all the group’s businesses are having to address their specific supply chain and distribution challenges that are being caused by the pandemic, as well as responding to the similar challenges faced by their customers.

Alicat, Perma Pure and Maxtec are making components for ventilators and respiratory health devices for hospitals

There has been a significant focus on ensuring a safe working environment for all Halma company employees. Measures taken include working from home wherever possible, a ban on non-essential travel and visitors to facilities, increased spacing between workstations, appropriate protective equipment, staggered shifts and breaks, plus enhanced cleaning processes and contingency planning.

Personal protective equipment for health workers

In accommodating these changes, the group’s operational teams continue to show exceptional commitment and dedication to ensure that customer needs are met and to contribute to the global fight against COVID-19 directly and indirectly. Examples include:

  • At least 10 companies from across every Halma sector are using rapid prototyping capabilities to manufacture personal protective equipment for health workers, in their local communities and nationally in the UK, Europe and the USA.
  • Alicat, Perma Pure and Maxtec are making components for ventilators and respiratory health devices for hospitals.
  • Diba and Bio-Chem are supplying parts which are used in new medical diagnostic test instruments.

Access controls and safe water

  • SunTech, Riester and Cardios are supplying primary care devices to test the blood pressure and cardiac health of patients.
  • CenTrak’s technology is being used in healthcare facilities and care homes to track the movement of people and ensure compliance with hand hygiene regimes.
  • BEA is making sensors, including those specifically designed for healthcare facilities, to ensure that doors can be opened and closed automatically without human contact.
  • The group’s water businesses including HWM, Mini-Cam, Palintest, Sensorex and UV companies are ensuring that water utilities can preserve continuity of a safe supply to homes and critical infrastructure.
  • The group’s fire businesses are helping to ensure that fire safety is maintained in critical infrastructure across the world.
  • One of the group’s most recent acquisitions, Sensit, is supporting gas utilities in the USA to ensure that their residential supply pipelines are safe.

Cost reduction and cash conservation measures

As in previous downturns, Halma have sought to act quickly to mitigate potential impacts by reducing costs, optimizing cash flow, protecting liquidity and, where necessary, changing how Halma operates.

Halma are ensuring that the group’s companies continue to manage their working capital effectively

These actions are expected to result in a cost reduction (net of the cost to implement them) of over £20 million in the first quarter of the new financial year, compared to the previous fourth quarter’s run-rate. Halma will review these mitigating actions at the end of the first quarter.

Halma have sought to limit the impact of these actions on the group’s employees, and protect their employment, in anticipation of trading conditions improving later in the financial year. Company, sector and group leaders have agreed to temporary salary reductions from 1 April 2020 for an initial three-month period, demonstrating their commitment to absorb a significant proportion of the cost savings necessary to protect ongoing operations.

Reduction in salaries and hiring freeze

This includes the Halma plc Board and the Executive Board, both of which have agreed to a 20% reduction in salaries or fees. Whilst the group has furloughed a small percentage of the group’s workforce, currently Halma intends to fund this without any support from the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Halma have implemented a widespread hiring freeze, a reduction in the use of contractors and a significant reduction in discretionary overhead spending. Halma are ensuring that the group’s companies continue to manage their working capital effectively, while maintaining productive relationships with customers and suppliers.

Halma are limiting capital investment to essential projects and R&D only, and do not expect to complete any acquisitions during the first quarter, though the group’s M&A search efforts are continuing. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a net adverse impact on the group’s markets and the group’s full year financial results to 31 March 2021, which are likely to have a significant second half weighting even though the timing and profile of recovery remains uncertain at this stage.


In what are challenging and changing times, Halma have taken a considerable number of actions to date and will continue to monitor matters closely. Halma will provide a further update in the Full Year results announcement.

Andrew Williams, Chief Executive of Halma, said:

Through this current challenging period, many of the group’s companies are demonstrating how they are living Halma’s purpose of ‘growing a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day’, by supporting the fight against COVID-19 directly and indirectly.”

Our agile business model, strong positions in markets with long-term growth drivers and the talent and dedication of our people are expected to ensure that we will perform relatively resiliently in the short term and be well positioned to resume growth as markets recover.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Hybrid And Electric Fire Vehicles Coming To A Department Near You
Hybrid And Electric Fire Vehicles Coming To A Department Near You

Local governments in the U.S. are embracing electric and hybrid vehicles in a big way, and many states have implemented incentives to promote adoption of the futuristic technologies. However, fire department vehicles and apparatus are yet to embrace the transition, largely because vehicles were not available that both meet the needs of firefighters and provide environmental advantages. However, fire vehicle technology is farther along the electric and hybrid path than some people realize. Electric and hybrid vehicles for the fire service are making their way into the market and may be deployed soon in a neighborhood near you. Zero-Emissions pumper Oshkosh Corp., which includes Pierce Manufacturing, has introduced the Volterra platform of electric vehicles for the fire and emergency market. The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service with the Madison, Wis., Fire Department, making it the first electric fire truck in service in North America. The Volterra pumper is serving front-line duty at Station 8, the City of Madison’s busiest fire station. The department is made up of 14 fire stations serving 100 square miles and a population of more than 250,000. The Volterra electric vehicle configuration weighs 42,000 lbs., seats six, has a 1500 GPM single-stage pump, 500-gallon water tank, 150 cu ft of compartmentation plus ladder storage, and a hose capacity of 1000 feet of 5-in hose. Pierce Manufacturing and Oshkosh Airport Products have introduced the Volterra™ platform of electric vehicles for the fire and emergency market Infinitely variable transmission An Oshkosh parallel-electric drivetrain with an electro-mechanical infinitely variable transmission allows zero-emissions operation when powered by onboard batteries. An internal combustion engine provides uninterrupted power to the pumping system or drive system. The first Striker ARFF will be delivered to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport Fire Department Oshkosh also provides a Volterra platform for a hybrid Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle, which is debuting at airports across the United States. The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) meets the growing emergency response needs among airports of all sizes in an environmentally conscious way. Firefighters will be able to experience the technology first-hand. The first Striker ARFF will be delivered to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) Fire Department in late summer 2021. Advanced safety systems Available on a 4x4 and 6x6 chassis platforms, the Striker Volterra performance hybrid delivers superior chassis performance, advanced safety systems, innovative fire suppression technology, reliability and durability. In April, Rosenbauer America’s Revolutionary Technology (RT) concept truck made its national debut in Washington, D.C., displayed for members of the Senate and firefighters based on the district. The viewing was held as Congress considers an infrastructure and jobs plan. “The Rosenbauer RT is the fire truck of the future,” says John Slawson, CEO and President of Rosenbauer America. “Build from the ground up using advanced materials and technologies, the RT is the safest fire truck on the roads today – for firefighters, for communities and for the environment.” The fully electric apparatus features a high level of safety, excellent driving dynamics and maneuverability and is fully networked. Rosenbauer's Revolutionary Technology (RT) fully electric fire truck visits Engine 3 in Washington, D.C. Auxiliary equipment chargers The RT’s electric drive is powerful and noise emission-free. The electric drive train ensures that almost no fuel is combusted while driving. Lighting and auxiliary equipment chargers are also powered by the batteries. A local power grid can be created with up to 14 kW operated simultaneously via the power outlet. A built-in range extender (REX) comprises a small diesel engine powering a large generator Conceived as a multi-purpose vehicle, the RT is a pumper first and foremost, a connected mobile command unit, and a vehicle for assistance in wildland fires. A built-in range extender (REX) comprises a small diesel engine powering a large generator. Volvo Penta developed the electric driveline for Rosenbauer’s RT fire truck, which is also being tested in fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam and Dubai. Pioneering electric drivelines “After many years of successful collaboration with Rosenbauer, we are proud to be pioneering electric drivelines and partnering with them on this revolutionary project,” says Paul Jansson, Chief Product Manager at Volvo Penta. “This is our first industrial OEM partnership in the area of electromobility, and it’s a big step toward creating a new product platform of the future.” The new fire truck aims to respond to global megatrends such as climate change, shifting demographics and urbanization – and their impact on the work of fire departments.  Firefighters responding to a call need a vehicle capable of high speed, rapid acceleration hard braking and maneuverability.

PAMS Software Promotes Accountability Of Fire Service Responders
PAMS Software Promotes Accountability Of Fire Service Responders

The fire service has always struggled with maintaining accurate accountability of personnel who are responding or operating in emergencies. Lack of firefighter accountability is often cited as a contributing factor in Line of Duty Deaths (LODD). Compounding the accountability challenge are volunteer responders who can be coming from anywhere, with some going to the station and others going direct. The existing accountability tools and processes were unreliable and failed when needed the most. Need for reliable and accurate system As a firefighter and Incident Commander, Justin Brundage witnessed firsthand the data gaps of the tools and processes commonly used. A reliable and accurate system was needed in the fire service to avoid unnecessary risk to responses and responders. The intuitive process fits within an existing response workflow and provides an end-to-end solution  Seeking to address the problem, Brundage co-founded Incident Management Technology, whose Personnel Accountability Management System (PAMS) software is a solution for maintaining accurate and reliable firefighter accountability. The intuitive process fits within an existing response workflow and provides an end-to-end solution for firefighter accountability. The software was developed to solve operational gaps in emergency response and to help departments operate more effectively and safely. Real-time operations With the PAMS system, all personnel can see the available, deployed, and responding staff and resources in real-time on a mobile app or web browser. Responding apparatus are also viewable in real-time, including all the personnel on the apparatus. At an incident, the software tools simplify the accurate tracking and management of all personnel on the scene and enable a shared common picture of the who, what, and where of all responders at all times. PAMS gives department members and officers the information they need in real-time to optimize their responses. “We do this by sharing availability and response information throughout the department on a smartphone app,” says Brundage. Operational safety In addition to the improvement in operational safety that agencies get from PAMS, the software also improves response. “When all responders can see the other responders’ destinations and estimated times of arrival (ETAs) they can adapt and optimize the response efficiency by responding where they are needed most and not duplicating unnecessarily,” says Brundage.  PAMS software functions as an electronic equivalent to tag-based systems, which are ineffective, cumbersome, and error-prone. The key difference is that, by being electronic, the “accountability” information is viewable to anyone connected to the agency in real-time, regardless of location. Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) The software manages the responder throughout the lifecycle of the emergency response New incidents are sent to the responder mobile app automatically from computer-aided dispatch (CAD). Responders mark up if they are responding, and the system calculates and shares each responder's destination and ETA. The software manages the responder throughout the lifecycle of the emergency response. The entire department can see who is responding, who is assigned to each responding apparatus, who is operating at the incident, and where they are operating. Because this is an electronic process managing the personnel, is much easier with timers on task activities, and a simple and quick participatory action research (PAR) process. Fits in emergency workflow PAMS software is designed to fit into the existing workflow of an emergency response. “As responders ourselves we understand the burden of adding more operational requirements to the already chaotic moments of response and incident mitigation,” says Brundage. PAMS was built to work effectively on the equipment that is in many cases already deployed and installed in the response apparatus. The mobile app is available for iOS and Android and is used by the personnel responders, and then the web app is browser-based and can run on a browser window on tablets, mobile computing devices (MDCs), and laptops. Affordable, But has a lack of awareness In rolling out the product, awareness has proven to be a challenge for Incident Management Technology. “As a startup company most agencies that would benefit from the system aren’t aware that a solution like this even exists,” says Brundage. The system is expanding features and functionality to maximize incident response effectiveness The system is expanding features, functionality, and integrations rapidly intending to build an affordable solution for all fire departments to minimize their operational risks and to maximize their incident response effectiveness. Benefits of the software “We are currently having success with organic growth and the network effect,” says Brundage. “Our current customers are showing the system and validating the benefits to other agencies local to them, and we are increasing our awareness that way every day.” He adds, “We love doing web demos and talking to fire and EMS departments. Most fire departments have the same operational challenges, and the feedback we receive from customers and prospects is what we use to drive our next phase of software development.”

Using State-Of-The-Art Technology To Prevent And Put Out Wind Turbine Fires
Using State-Of-The-Art Technology To Prevent And Put Out Wind Turbine Fires

As more and more countries in Europe and North America commit to net zero, a key strategy is replacing old fossil fuel-driven forms of power generation and replacing them with renewable energy, such as wind turbines and solar panels. The wind industry has seen a particular boom, with tens of thousands of new turbines installed every year across the globe. However, like any other heavy machinery, wind turbines can catch fire due to mechanical or electrical failures. These fires can have impacts beyond the turbine if there is secondary fire spread to surrounding lands, resulting in potentially catastrophic loss. Without this technology in place, a single fire could cost $7-8 million and cause substantial downtime. The time is now for the industry to use all available technology to prevent these incidents and reduce the risk of fires spilling into the environment. How do wind turbine fires start? Wind turbine fires can catch fire due to external causes, such as lightning strikes, or internal causes, such as mechanical or electrical failure resulting in sparks or heat in the nacelle. Most nacelle fires start at one of three points of ignition – converter and capacitor cabinets, the nacelle brake, or the transformer. Nacelle brakes are used to stop the turbine’s blades from spinning in an emergency.  Converter and capacitor cabinets and transformers are necessary for the turbine to generate power and transform it into a voltage that can be exported to the grid. An electrical fault at either location can produce arc flashes or sparks, which can ignite nearby Class A combustibles, like cables, plastics, or fiberglass. Nacelle brakes are used to stop the turbine’s blades from spinning in an emergency. The brakes can cause turbine fires, albeit due to sparks from mechanical stress and friction rather than electrical failure. While some turbines have been designed with safer, electrical brakes, mechanical brake systems are often used as a backup in the event of power or control failure. These ignition points are all necessary for the safe generation of electricity from the wind, and cannot simply be designed out. As such, wind farm owners and operators must be ready to deal with fires when they spark. Why are wind turbine fires hard to fight? Modern wind turbines often exceed 250 feet in height, while most ground-based firefighting can only reach up to 100 feet. A team sent up-tower to manually fight the fire would constitute a major health and safety risk, as turbines have limited space and escape routes – putting employees not only in direct contact with fire but at risk of being in the turbine if it collapses. As such, when turbines catch fire, they are often left to burn out, with firefighters’ efforts focused on preventing the spread and clearing the area as fiery debris falls. This results in irreparable damage to the turbine, necessitating its replacement. What is the cost of a wind turbine fire? The cost of replacing a burned-out wind turbine depends on a number of factors. First and foremost is the size and initial cost of the turbine. Turbines with more than 3MW of rated capacity can cost between $3-10 million to install during development. Replacement turbines can often cost even more, as manufacturers are likely to charge more for individual, one-off installations. Another key loss is business interruption, or how long the turbine was offline – and therefore not generating revenue. The average loss due to a turbine fire was estimated by insurance company GCube to be $4.5 million in 2015. As turbines have grown larger and therefore more expensive to replace with greater losses in revenue, we expect a fire to cost anywhere between $7-8 million for new models. How can turbine owners and manufacturers manage fire risk? Firetrace’s system is designed with flexible Heat Detection Tubing, which ruptures in response to extreme heat or open flame Turbine manufacturers are already taking steps to “design out” fire risk in turbines. For example, lightning protection systems on turbine blades safely re-direct the surge of electricity away from cables, while condition monitoring systems can identify whether a component is overheating and likely to catch fire. In order to put out any turbine fires that do start at their source, turbine owners and manufacturers can install automatic fire suppression systems at common points of ignition. Firetrace’s system is designed with flexible Heat Detection Tubing, which ruptures in response to extreme heat or open flame, releasing a clean suppression agent precisely at the source of the fire before it can spread. Wind farm owners who have taken a more proactive approach to manage risk via fire suppression systems have been able to snuff out fires before they can spread throughout the turbine or into the environment. By investing in the latest technology for fire suppression, owners and operators have avoided the worst-case scenario, saving millions in operating costs.