Electronics and home security company Laird Group yesterday said it expected further progress during its second half as it posted a 36 per cent rise in underlying first-half profit.

"Expansion in emerging markets and low cost countries continues, with new plants in China and Mexico in 2006 and India in 2007," Laird said in a statement.

Laird made a pretax profit before exceptional items and amortisation of £32.7 million in the six months to end-June, on revenue up 16 per cent at £286 million. Pretax profit from continuing operations rose 77 per cent to £28.5 million.

First-half growth was driven by its Technologies business which makes parts for wireless applications. Laird reported strong demand across all the unit's markets, in particular those for cellular handsets, notebook PCs and plasma display panels.

Underlying operating profit at Technologies rose 59 per cent to £24.7 million, on revenue up 39 per cent to £165 million.

But operating profit at its Security Systems business, which makes doors, windows and associated fittings, fell two per cent to £13.4 million. Revenues rose six per cent to £121 million, split between North America and Britain, where sales fell 11 per cent year-on-year on a like-for-like basis.

Laird said it closed one of its three British sites to cut costs.