Smiths Group Boosts Production of Ventilators in U.K. Amid Virus

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Smiths Group Plc, the British maker of medical devices, said it’s “significantly ramping up” production of ventilators as demand soars in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company is also in talks with contract manufacturers in the U.S. to increase production of the breathing machines, Smiths said in astatement Saturday. The company makes ventilators at a facility in Luton, north of London.

Smiths is part of a group of firms that the British government has tasked with making 5,000 additional ventilators within two weeks and 30,000 over the coming months. Besides increasing its own output, Smiths will provide intellectual property and technical advice to that government-sponsored effort to create additional U.K. manufacturing sites and supply chains, according to the statement.

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Over the past week, companies unrelated to the medical-device industry have offered toretool factories to help make equipment to treat the afflicted. Ferrari NV and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are in talks with Italy’s biggest ventilator manufacturer to help boost its output, while in the U.S, General Motors Co. has said it could use some excess factory space to build hospital ventilators.

French sugar producer Tereos SCA will start making hydroalcoholic gel, used for sanitizers, at five of its factories. LVMH, the luxury-goods giant, will make large quantities of the gel at some of its cosmetics plants.

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