Riverside Completes First South American Acquisition October 16, 2008
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Argentine Manufacturer is Second Add-on for Hungarian Healthcare Platform
(October 16, 2008) – The Riverside Company made its first investment in South America with the acquisition of UV-Vis Metrolab S.A., an Argentine manufacturer of automated clinical chemistry analyzers for the human medical market. Metrolab is the second add-on to Hungarian platform company Diatron, a developer, manufacturer and marketer of compact hematology analyzers for the human medical and veterinary markets. Metrolab, together with Israeli-based Novamed, which was acquired in December 2007, provides key contributions to the overall goal of developing an international in vitro diagnostics (“IVD”) group. Metrolab represents the 27th acquisition for the firm in 2008 and the second healthcare-related investment this week.
Since its founding 25 years ago, Metrolab has built its business on strong research and development. The company holds proprietary technology on its products and offers its customers software and extensive after-sale support. Metrolab mirrors Diatron’s sales approach, using a distributor model and maintaining exclusive arrangements with distributors in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Along with its strong R&D efforts, the company has a solid understanding of its end-users, which are usually hospitals, clinical laboratories and private medical practices.
“When we set out to grow Diatron, we wanted to develop a portfolio of synergized companies in numerous segments of the in vitro diagnostics products industry,” said Ferenc Vidovszky, Riverside Partner in Budapest. “Metrolab met our criteria for complementary product without affecting either product line. The combination of these companies provides synergy in their sales approach, and Metrolab also provides a gateway to Latin America, which is very appealing to future growth.”
“The closest segments to hematology – in distribution and technical terms – are clinical chemistry, urinalysis and immunology,” said Peter Pataky, Group CEO. “As a result of the immediate synergies, we will be able to create sales packages that will appeal to our distributors, increasing our sales. Riverside has shown they recognize the great potential in Diatron and, together, we continue to grow in size and stature while maintaining the high quality focus on R&D that has made us successful.”
“The acquisition of Metrolab accelerates Diatron’s strategy to create a powerful group in the IVD field,” said Gábor Lengyel, Diatron CEO. “Metrolab has the potential to significantly extend our geographical reach, and the companies are expected to bring new markets to each other. The transaction marks the beginning of an exciting collaboration – Metrolab’s high quality standards along with the broad product portfolio make it an ideal fit with Diatron’s open approach to innovation. Metrolab’s product portfolio and distribution network complement that of Diatron by sharing the same marketing targets. The combination of Metrolab and Diatron represents an enormous opportunity for our users and distributors seeking new, innovative products and options.”
Metrolabs General Manager Enrique D’Alessio commented, “Metrolab’s team is excited and ready to join forces and take advantage of synergies with Diatron to constitute a strong IVD group with weight in the international market.”
Diatron has performed well under Riverside’s ownership. In addition to successfully integrating Novamed, the company has increased its brand recognition and garnered new customers around the world. Diatron has introduced new and upgraded products to expand its offerings while increasing brand awareness.
“We have added another strong global niche player to Diatron,” said Vidovszky. “We are always on the look out for the right add-on opportunities and anticipate that Diatron will continue to grow organically and through additional acquisitions as we move forward with our strategic plan for this great company.”
Working with Vidovszky on the transaction for Riverside was Balázs Tahy, Vice President. Riverside Europe Fund III provided the equity for the transaction.
The Riverside Company is the largest global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”) and is one of the industry’s most experienced leveraged buyout investors. Riverside specializes in investing in premier SEMM companies (those valued up to $150 million) and partners with strong management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since 1988, the firm has invested in 203 transactions with a total enterprise value of $4.4 billion. Its current portfolio in North America, Europe and Asia numbers 68, with combined annual sales of $3.2 billion, EBITDA of $517 million and more than 14,000 employees. Riverside offers the resources to complete acquisitions smoothly and in as little as 45 days - thanks to its sizeable pool of capital under management (more than $2 billion in nine funds), over 180 professionals in 18 offices (Atlanta, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Eindhoven, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw), and long-standing relationships with partner lenders. Six of nine of the firm’s mature vintages are currently top quartile, and the firm’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds-of-funds, insurance companies and banks.
Diatron, founded in 1989, is an independent company focused on the development, manufacture and marketing of compact hematology analyzers and reagents for the human medical and veterinary markets. The company comprises an R&D and production arm as well as an export sales and marketing arm, and is based in Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria.
For more than 25 years, UV-Vis Metrolab S.A., has designed, manufactured and marketed semi-automatic and automatic random analyzers for clinical chemistry, analytical chemistry, elisa, electrolytes, immunoturbidimetry and coagulation. Its analyzers are used in medical, veterinary, industrial and research laboratories. Metrolab warrants the quality of its products through a Quality System under the ISO 9001/2000 Standard and their products meet international requirements such as CD (Europe), FDA (USA) and SFDA (China).