Avon Protection is the recognised global market leader in advanced Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) respiratory protection systems for the worlds’ military, homeland security, first responder, fire and industrial markets. Our unrivalled 80 year pedigree in military mask design and manufacture has placed Avon Protection’s products at the heart of numerous international defence and tactical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) deployment strategies. Our expanding global customer base now includes military forces, civil and first line defence troops, emergency service teams and industrial, marine, mineral and oil extraction site personnel. All put their trust in Avon’s advanced respiratory solutions.
Our world leading Dairy business and its Milkrite brand have a global market presence. Our unique designs and innovative technology are described by one particular customer as “the biggest advance in the milking process in a generation”. Working with the leading scientists and health specialists in the industry, we continue to invest in technology to further improve the milking process and animal welfare. As our market share and milking experience continue to grow so does our global presence.
Protection & Defence
Our Protection & Defence business consists of a growing range of respiratory products. The main products are respirators or gas masks (product names FM12, M50, C50, ST53 and M53) together with a range of spares and accessories; the CE approved emergency hood (EH20) and NIOSH approved emergency hood (NH15); and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) (primarily the Viking product range). The respirators and escape hoods offer breathing protection to varying degrees against CBRN threats while the SCBA equipment offers protection in oxygen depleted environments. We can also manufacture the consumable filters used by these products and thermal imaging camera equipment.
Our new product development programme, Project Fusion, combines the skills and expertise of our design and engineering teams to produce a modular personal protection system comprising smaller modules with multiple functionalities that can be combined or used independently in different threat scenarios. We have launched the first module in this system, AvonAir, our new range of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) (NIOSH approved, compact, battery powered modular airflow units which reduce breathing resistance). We expect this modular approach to further extend our market reach into the military, law enforcement and first responder protective equipment market.
Our respiratory protection products are sold direct to military markets where our primary customer is the US Department of Defense (DoD) as well as a number of approved governments globally. Other significant markets are categorised under the First Responder banner and include the Police and other emergency services and are sold either directly or through distribution channels. The SCBA and thermal imaging equipment is targeted at fire services and other industrial users, primarily through a distribution network in the US. All of these products are safety critical and the markets are consequently highly regulated with the approval standards creating significant barriers to entry. Product life cycles are long and standardisation to a particular product by users is typical.
Our Dairy business designs, manufactures and sells products used in the automated milking process, primarily rubberware such as liners and tubing. These consumable products come into direct contact with the cow and are replaced regularly to ensure product hygiene, animal welfare and to maximise milk quality. The global market is concentrated in high consumption automated markets in North America and Western Europe where we have significant market shares. Potential exists outside these traditional markets, in particular in China, India, Eastern Europe, Australasia and South America, which are experiencing rapidly increasing demand for dairy products which is being satisfied through mechanised milking. During the year we established our first sales and distribution facility in Shanghai to enable us to service the Asian market more efficiently.
Our products are manufactured for major Original Equipment Manufacturers as well as being sold through distributors under our own Milkrite brand. We excel in product design, materials specification and manufacturing efficiency. We are working to bring a wider range of dairy products to market under our Milkrite brand, enhancing the farmer’s view of Milkrite as the primary technical solutions provider in this area. The success of the innovative Milkrite Impulse Mouthpiece Vented Liner, “ImpulseAir”, continues and this product has already claimed an 18% market share in the United States since its launch in 2010.
OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
The Group is committed to generating shareholder value through developing new products and serving global markets that can deliver long-term sustainable revenues at higher than average margins.
We have two strategic priorities at Group level:
Protection & Defence
We have a world leading range of military respirators, developed over many years and funded partially by our customers, where we (sometimes jointly) own the intellectual property. Our strategy is to build on this strong position in the military market, initially through our long term sole source mask systems contract to supply the US military, and subsequently through sales to and further long term contracts with other governments. Our range of filters and capacity for filter manufacture is increasing and developing through-life revenues with greater consumable sales and service revenue is also a prime objective. We believe that our existing product range and customer base, together with our credibility and development expertise, will put us in prime position to supply into all accessible global markets.
We are simultaneously targeting homeland security markets with non-military versions of these products. Our SCBA products have the potential for greater integration with our other respiratory protection products and this has been demonstrated with the ST53 product. We aim to increase our range of modular product offerings, widen our routes to market and aggressively pursue further product approvals and certifications in new markets. In addition, successfully integrating our respiratory products with other CBRN protection products such as helmets, boots, gloves and suits, will in time allow us to provide a full CBRN personal protection ensemble. These developments will primarily be through organic growth in the short term although with the Group’s strengthened balance sheet the acquisition of complementary technologies can now be considered.
Our strategy for long-term sustainable profit growth is to maintain our market leading position in the US while growing our European business through our unique own brand Milkrite products. We are also investing in opportunities in developing markets such as China, India and Eastern Europe to expand our global distribution capability to deliver growth in the longer term and we are expanding our in-country sales network around the world. Innovative new product offerings and continued world class low cost manufacturing excellence enable this business to sustain a consistent record of profitability and cash generation.
We do this through 5 strategic priorities: