Haemocell shares fall on US rift: Medical equipment maker 'concerned' at decisions made by distributor

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The Independent Online
SHARES IN Haemocell tumbled 28p to 116p after the medical equipment maker announced it was unravelling a key distribution deal with Stryker Corporation of the United States.

Federal Drugs Administration approval for its System 350 blood filtration machine sent Haemocell shares soaring late last year. The shares more than doubled to 229p in three weeks in October.

Yesterday they recovered slightly after the initial drop to close 23p lower at 121p.

The company would not comment on the reasons behind its bust-up with Stryker, beyond saying that the US group had taken unilateral decisions that gave Haemocell directors cause for concern.

Trevor Wilson, chief operating officer, said litigation might arise from the termination of the agreement, so he could not give any details. But he added that Haemocell hoped to resolve the situation amicably. 'We don't want to end up head to head - Stryker has applied to distribute the product in Europe and we will consider that.

'They do have an awesome presence in sales and marketing in the US, but they were not the right partners for System 350 there.' He added that concern about the tie-up had surfaced only very recently, and that Haemocell would not again allow a single company to control the distribution of a product such as the S350.

Haemocell is negotiating with other potential distributors for the S350, which cleans and filters a patient's blood during an operation.

Mr Wilson said that the company's financial results for the year to the end of this month would probably be similar to last year's, and the severance terms with Stryker could have either a positive or negative effect on the final outcome. Haemocell made losses of pounds 1.7m before tax last year.