Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does Spectris do?

    We make highly specialised measuring instruments and controls for some of the most technically demanding industries in the world. Our products and applications help ensure the safety of aircraft materials, render cars quieter and more economical, and make energy greener and cleaner. Everything we do is about making technology more productive, and giving our customers a competitive edge. We speed up processes, save time, cut waste, and improve accuracy.

    Our own competitive edge is provided by innovation. We have unparalleled know-how and expertise in our chosen fields, and many of our products are based on our own proprietary technology and protected by patents. Our businesses target niche markets and sectors where there are high barriers to entry which we can profitably serve. We invest around 7% of our revenue in Research and Development (‘R&D’), and our businesses launch new products and applications every year. Around 40% of our sales come from customers’ operating budgets, of which 24% is from consumables and service, collectively reducing our exposure to the capital cycle. Our global network of sales offices and technical centres means we can provide local delivery and service for our customers, wherever they are based.

    The way we work is underpinned by our culture and our values, providing a framework everyone understands and respects. We have an energetic, entrepreneurial culture, where people are encouraged to take responsibility and achieve their goals. Our focus on integrity, customers and innovation supports our goal of high performance in delivering products and services which are best-in-class.

    The result? Leading positions in the markets we operate in.

  • When was Spectris founded?

    Spectris was founded in 1915 as The Fairey Aviation Company Limited. The company changed its name to Spectris plc in May 2001.

  • When did Spectris go public?

    The company was listed on the stock exchange in 1988 as Fairey Group plc.

  • When did the company change its name?

    Fairey Group changed its name to Spectris following approval by shareholders at the AGM in May 2001.

  • Why did the company change its name?

    Fairey Group acquired the four instrumentation and controls businesses of the German company Spectris AG in June 2000. The reshaping of the group into a specialist technology-based instrumentation and electronic controls company, which has 90% of its business outside the UK, made it an appropriate time to adopt a name which more closely reflected the company’s focus. Fairey Group subsequently changed its name to Spectris as this name already had recognition and provided the opportunity to adopt a name which, along with trademarks and website domains, the company already owned.

  • What is the company's financial position?

    At the end of 2012, the last full year for which accounts are available, reported sales were £1,230.8m (2011: £1,106.2m), with adjusted operating profit of £228.9m (2011: £201.5m). Adjusted earnings per share were 137.5p (2011: 124.1p).

  • What is the company's dividend policy?

    Spectris’ dividend policy is progressive with dividend increases being based upon affordability and sustainability. Other factors taken into consideration when determining the dividend are the pay-out ratio and the yield. The dividend for 2012 was 39.0p (2011: 33.6p).

  • What is the company's net debt position?

    At the end of 2012, net debt decreased by £102.1m (2011: increase of £270.0m) from £356.2m to £254.1m. Interest cost, excluding the financing charge arising from IAS19, was covered by operating profit 18.9 times (2011: 20.2 times).

  • How strong is cash generation?

    Strong cash generation is a key company objective, with a target of delivering high cash conversion of operating profit in each financial year. Cash conversion is defined as operating cash flow as a percentage of adjusted operating profit. In 2012, cash conversion was 93% (2011: 89%).

  • What is the company's commitment to Research and Development (‘R&D’)?

    Spectris invests significantly in the development of new products and technologies, with an annual spend of around 7% of sales on the development of new products and technologies. In 2012, expenditure on R&D was 7% of sales, or £85.5m. Many of our core technologies are protected by patents and process know-how.

  • Is the business capital intensive?

    The nature of the business is not capital intensive. Capital expenditure during the 2012 financial year equated to 2.3% of sales (2011: 2.6%) and, at £28.8m (2011: £29.2m), was 140% of depreciation and software amortisation (2010: 162%). The majority of manufacturing is outsourced and premises are mainly leased.

  • Who are the main competitors to Spectris?

    Owing to the company’s diversity, it is difficult to identify exact comparable trading companies, however, broker research reports have identified a number of peer companies in the US against which to compare valuations. These are: Roper Industries, Danaher, PerkinElmer, Mettler-Toledo, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Whilst a number of these companies are significantly larger than Spectris and only part of their business is in instrumentation, there is significant overlap.

  • Where does Spectris stock trade?

    Spectris is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the Electronics sector under the ticker symbol SXS.

  • Can I buy Spectris shares in Europe or the USA?

    Spectris shares cannot be purchased over the counter outside the UK, however they can be bought and sold via a registered intermediary.

  • Does Spectris operate a SCRIP or DRIP dividend programme?

    As an alternative to receiving dividends in cash, shareholders can use their dividend payments to buy additional Spectris shares using the Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP). New applications to participate in the DRIP must be received at least 15 working days before the date of the next dividend payment.

    Full details of the Plan are set out on the Spectris website here or, alternatively, contact the registrars, Equiniti on 0871 384 2586 (UK) or +44 121 415 7047 (overseas)

  • I have a share certificate in the name of Fairey Group. How do I obtain a new certificate for Spectris?

    Share certificates in the name of Fairey Group plc remain valid. However, if you would like a replacement certificate bearing the name of Spectris plc, please write to our registrars stating this request and enclosing your existing certificate. Our registrar’s details are as follows:- Equiniti Limited, Aspect House, Spencer Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN99 6DA

  • How do I change my address on my share certificate?

    To change any details on your share certificate, contact the registrars:- Equiniti Limited, Aspect House, Spencer Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN99 6DA. A range of shareholder services are also provided on-line at

  • How do I contact spectris?

    The company’s head office is at Heritage House, Church Road, Egham, Surrey, TW20 9QD, England and the main telephone number is +44 (0)1784 470470. The e-mail address is