Laird plc has followed several acquisitions and divestment strategies over the years, which has changed the company’ s product portfolio and has also led to its growth. In 1898, the company merged with Charles Cammell and Co. Ltd. and formed Cammell Laird and Co. Ltd. The company manufactures submarines and navy ships. In 1970, the UK government overtook the shipbuilding operations, and half of the company’ s shares were nationalized. After that, the company was renamed as Laird Group Ltd. In 1994, the company changed its product portfolio and started developing a series of EMI shield types of equipment.
Laird acquired APM in 1996, which allowed them to manufacture specialized metal coated EMI shields. In 2010, the company acquired Cattron, which manufactures wireless control and automation types of equipment. In the next year, the company acquired Kluver, which manufactured cooling system for medical pieces of equipment. In 2012, Laird made an acquisition of a leading microwaves absorber equipment manufacturer known as Microwaves Materials Group. In the same year, the company entered into the M2M wireless communication market by acquiring Summit Data Communications. In 2013, Nextreme Thermal Solutions was acquired, which is a thin film thermometric technology developer.
This acquisition allowed Laird to have a strong foothold in the thermal management market (Laird, 2014f). The above chart shows a steady rise in gross margin in the year 2009 to 2012. However, in the year 2013, the margin growth has slowed down. According to the data of Morningstar (2014a), this trend can be explained by the reduced cost of sales. However, in 2013, the rise in the price of the raw materials has slowed down the margin growth.
From the above graphs, the profitability of the company has dropped severely since 2009 and has reached to the negative value in 2011. Then again it has gone up in 2012 and has fallen slightly in 2013. The fall in profit in 2013, is due to the rise in the price of raw materials (Laird. 2014e).
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