Smith sells Perry for £31m

Smith & Nephew, the healthcare group, has continued the tidying up of its portfolio of businesses with the sale of Perry, its US-based medical gloves operation, for £31m.

The disposal to Ansell, a division of Pacific Dunlop, involves a £19m write-off of goodwill paid at the time of original acquisition. A loss of £12m will be taken in Smith's next results.

Following the sale, Smith & Nephew is focused on five main product areas - wound management, casting and support, trauma, arthroscopy and orthopaedic implants. The company said it planned to concentrate on sophisticated products that would sell world-wide.

John Robinson, chief executive, said: "Perry helped to build the foundation for today's successful US operation. But in an increasingly competitive market, surgical gloves are not readily sold alongside our product range."

In 1994 Perry made profits of £3.4m on sales of £41m. For a period after the sale, Smith will continue to distribute Perry gloves outside the US and provide technical support to Ansell.

Two months ago, Smith announced a £5.5m loss after an exceptional charge of £177.7m, mainly on the sale of the US lens business, Ioptex. At the time the company said it was planning sizeable acquisitions to give it greater critical mass in the fast-changing global pharmaceuticals market.

Mr Robinson said the expansion would focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

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