Health Care, Manufacturing, and Technology

Aspen Surgical Products acquired by HillRom

August 31, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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Aspen Surgical, a surgical implements manufacturer launched in Wyoming in 1999 and now based in Caledonia, was acquired in late July by Hill-Rom of Batesville, Ind., for $400 million, from a Chicago area private equity firm.

Terry O’Rourke, president of Hill-Rom’s new Aspen Surgical division, said last week that Aspen has annual revenue of $120 million, with 300 employees in its facilities here. He said there has been no change in the number of employees, and Hill-Rom “has indicated they are going to invest in Aspen, in our growth.”

Aspen also has manufacturing facilities in Redditch, England, and in Puerto Rico, and has a total of more than 500 employees worldwide, according to its website. It recently acquired the wound care and ophthalmic business of Unomedical, a Danish company.

Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HRC) is a $1.6 billion company with 6,000 employees worldwide. It is a worldwide manufacturer and provider of medical technologies and related services for the health care industry. It specializes in design and production of automated beds for medical purposes.

Aspen Surgical makes disposable products, both metal and plastic, used in operating rooms and sterile processing departments, including highly recognized brands such as Bard-Parker surgical blades and scalpels, and Colby fluid collection devices. The Hill-Rom announcement about its acquisition said it was “keen to add Aspen’s portfolio of products to its own — including conventional and safety scalpels and blades, Colby fluid collection products, Richard-Allan specialty needles and a variety of other operating room disposables.”

Aspen Surgical had been owned by RoundTable Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm in Lake Forest, Ill., focused exclusively on the health care industry. RoundTable had acquired a majority interest in Aspen in 2006.

RoundTable released a statement that said Dan Bowen, Aspen’s original founder and a minority shareholder prior to the sale to Hill-Rom, chose to partner with RoundTable “because of their proven ability to add value to their portfolio companies. Their access to management, ability to attract new customers, and support in identifying and executing add-on opportunities was instrumental to Aspen achieving its success.”

Greg Pritchard, former CEO of Aspen and now senior vice president at Hill-Rom and president of its Surgical and Respiratory Care Division, said Aspen and Hill-Rom “share a similar mission to enhance outcomes with products that help ensure a safe environment in surgical and other health care settings.”

“Aspen’s management team did a tremendous job of building a portfolio of market-leading products that enable hospitals and surgery centers to reduce preventable medical errors and costs while also improving the quality of care,” said Joseph F. Damico, a founding partner and co-chairman of RoundTable.

Lester B. Knight, founding partner and co-chairman of RoundTable, said the transaction “marks the second portfolio realization for RoundTable’s $500 million Fund II, and generated a return of more than four times invested equity capital for our investors.”

Caledonia Township Supervisor Bryan Harrison said the township has granted tax abatements in the past to Aspen Surgical to support company investments that would create more jobs in the community. He described Aspen as “a major investor” in Caledonia.

“They do provide good-paying jobs, which is why we supported the abatement,” said Harrison. He added that the company has provided financial support to a number of community events “so we consider them a good corporate citizen of Caledonia.”

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