Agfa/Sterling deal gets regulatory go-ahead

May 1, 1999

Agfa/Sterling deal gets regulatory go-aheadAgfa's proposed acquisition of Sterling Diagnostic Imaging received approval from regulatory authorities in the U.S. and Europe, the companies reported last month. Executives of the firms believe that

Agfa/Sterling deal gets regulatory go-ahead

Agfa's proposed acquisition of Sterling Diagnostic Imaging received approval from regulatory authorities in the U.S. and Europe, the companies reported last month. Executives of the firms believe that the merger should be completed by the middle of this month, pending shareholder approval (PNN 2/99). Agfa's spin-off from Bayer could follow soon after (PNN 10/98), with Bayer setting a deadline of June 1 for the divestiture of its Mortsel, Belgium-based subsidiary, according to Bloomberg News.

Sterling of Greenville, SC, is also reportedly close to reaching a deal to sell off its Direct Radiography Corp. digital x-ray subsidiary, which is not part of the Agfa sale. Sources close to Sterling say that it has received bids from a number of prospective suitors for DRC, and plans to make a decision in the next several weeks.

In other DRC news, the Glasgow, DE-based firm has signed a nonexclusive contract with an Asian thin-film transistor supplier. DRC's previous supply of TFT arrays had been affected by the demise of OIS Optical Imaging Systems (PNN 11/98), Although the company declined to identify its new supplier, DRC officials said the company had annual revenues larger than those of pharmaceutical giant Du Pont.

TFT arrays suitable for manufacturing will be delivered this month, according to Tom Umbel, DRC vice president and general manager. Systems employing the new arrays are expected to be available in July.

The company still plans to pursue a dual-sourcing strategy for its arrays, and is in discussions with two other firms. DRC executives do not expect an agreement in the near term, however.

Meanwhile, the company has installed the first two European sites for its DR1000C digital chest system at Addenbrooke's NHS Trust in Cambridge, U.K., and Nordland Central Hospital in Bodoe, Norway. In Asia, DRC has installed a digital chest system incorporating a DirectRay detector at Seoul National University Hospital. In U.S. sales, Kuakini Medical Center in Hawaii has implemented a DR1000C unit.