Spectris is a leading supplier of productivity-enhancing instrumentation and controls. Our products, applications and services help customers to improve product quality and performance, improve core manufacturing processes, reduce downtime and wastage and reduce time to market, providing solutions across a wide range of industries.
Spectris comprises four strategic segments which reflect the end user industries, and applications we serve. Our businesses are strong players in niche markets where there are significant barriers to entry. Our product pipeline is underpinned by research and development, which accounts for around 7% of sales each year. Our businesses serve all the major global manufacturing industries and we derive significant revenues in the high-growth economies. We aim to build our presence in key strategic growth areas, both organically and through stand-alone and bolt-on acquisitions.
We have an experienced Board and Executive management team, a clear strategic direction and a proven business model which combines the benefits of a multinational group whilst maintaining the entrepreneurial culture of our operating companies. Our products typically involve low capital expenditure but provide significant and rapid payback for our customers. Our businesses are capital efficient, focusing on the core competencies of research and development, product design and assembly and testing, whilst outsourcing the majority of component and sub-assembly production to qualified suppliers.
Year-on-year sales growth, on a like-for-like basis, has averaged in the mid-single digits since 2003. This has been supplemented by growth from acquisitions averaging around 4% per annum. Our businesses have low capital requirements and are highly cash-generative, and our target is to deliver high cash conversion of operating profit in each financial year. Our aim is to achieve growth in adjusted earnings per share, and our dividend policy is to make progressive payments based on affordability and sustainability.