Swedish company Perbio Science has agreed to a $714 million (€626m) takeover by Fisher Scientific International of the USA, which says that it sees the acquisition as a means of capitalising on the strong growth of the life science consumables market.
Perbio operates in two areas - cell culture media and bioresearch tools - that are expected to grow in the 10 to 15 per cent range over the 2003-5 period, and had revenues of $231 million in the 12 months to March 31, 2003. Fisher's turnover in 2002 was $3.2 billion.
The US firm distributes and manufactures an array of products to the scientific research, clinical laboratory and industrial safety markets, but the Perbio deal will allow it to bolster capabilities in protein production and research. Fisher expects the acquisition to boost its earnings from 2004, and it predicts that revenues this year will also get a lift to 6.5 to 8.5 per cent, with Perbio contributing 2.5 points to that total.
Fisher has a strong track record of successfully integrating new companies into its business, and indeed Perbio is the latest in a series of acquisitions by the US firm. Most recently, it bought scientific instrument and supply company Cole-Palmer for $205 million, and this strategy of growth by acquisition has allowed it to achieve an average 20 per cent annual growth in earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation since 2000, according to US ratings company Moody's.
Perbio's cell culture division sells cell nutrition products, process liquids and sterile liquid-handling and production systems under the HyClone brand. It has benefited from the increasing numbers of protein-based drugs in development and on the market, boosting demand for cell culture media for production. The bioresearch division concentrates on tools for the discovery of protein-based drugs sold under the Pierce and Endogen banners.
On the whole, the markets reacted favourably to the news, driving Perbio's share price up 18 per cent to SKr147, while Fisher put on 13 per cent to close at $35.47.