Smiths buys US drug delivery firm for pounds 100m

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SMITHS Industries, the aerospace, industrial and medical equipment group, is paying dollars 150m ( pounds 100m) to acquire Deltec, a US maker of intravenous drug delivery systems, from Pharmacia, the Swedish drug company that is in the process of being privatised, writes Terence Wilkinson.

Deltec makes infusion systems in which electronic pumps are used, together with disposable cassettes, to administer long-term intravenous medication to patients who would otherwise be confined to hospital beds. Typical users are diabetics and Aids sufferers.

The company also makes the Port-a-Cath range of implantable vascular access ports and catheters, which allow drugs to be administered over a long period without repeated needle punctures.

Pressure on budgets means there is a growing trend towards providing health care away from hospital locations wherever possible. An increasing number of drugs are provided intravenously and demographic changes mean there will be more older people needing continuing care.

Smiths sees the purchase as a strategic step in building a community healthcare device system. Net assets being acquired are dollars 51m and the core US business made profits of dollars 13.3m on sales of dollars 90m.