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ATL will go it alone after SpaceLabs spin-off

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Ultrasound vendor Advanced Technology Laboratories will have tosatisfy investors on its own if the spin-off of sister companySpaceLabs is approved by shareholders in May. ATL's financialresults will depend entirely on its ultrasound business when

Ultrasound vendor Advanced Technology Laboratories will have tosatisfy investors on its own if the spin-off of sister companySpaceLabs is approved by shareholders in May. ATL's financialresults will depend entirely on its ultrasound business when itbecomes a public company unto itself. The expectation is thatATL managers will react with entrepreneurial zeal to this greatercorporate focus.

"We felt it would be better for shareholders and employees,who are also shareholders, if these companies were finally ableto stand and thrive on their own," said Dennis C. Fill, chairmanand CEO of parent Westmark International. "Employees willbe totally in charge of their own destiny and much more focused.Incentive programs will be based solely on the performance ofthe separate companies."

SpaceLabs, a patient monitoring firm, has performed better thanATL in past years. But the ultrasound effort appears to be ingear now with ATL's introduction last year of its high-definitionimaging (HDI) upgrade to the Ultramark 9 scanner (see story, page2).

Westmark's board of directors voted this month to recommend thespin-off of SpaceLabs at one share of common stock for each shareheld of Westmark stock. The Westmark name will be replaced byATL's, and Westmark's small headquarters in Seattle will be closed.ATL will continue to be based in nearby Bothell, WA, Fill said.

Fill, who was appointed president and CEO of ATL last year (SCAN2/13/91), will continue in that position. Carl A. Lombardi, presidentof SpaceLabs, will head the newly independent company.

The two medical equipment businesses have functioned relativelyautonomously since they were spun off from Squibb five years ago.The only overlapping functions occur at the level of the Westmarkholding company, Fill said.

ATL focuses predominantly on radiology ultrasound sales. Whatcardiology ultrasound business the vendor has will suffer littlefrom the corporate separation. Cardiac ultrasound sales go tocardiology departments, while monitors are normally purchasedfor hospital intensive care units and cardiac care units, Fillsaid.

"While there has been some overlap and interchange of technology,it has been very little. The marketplaces in which they operateare quite different," Fill said.

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