Company retires $38 million debt from Sopha days

Nuclear medicine vendor SMV of Twinsburg, OH, reported last month that it has completed the financial recapitalization plan announced earlier this year (SCAN Special Report June 1997). The deal includes the retirement of about $38 million in corporate

Nuclear medicine vendor SMV of Twinsburg, OH, reported last month that it has completed the financial recapitalization plan announced earlier this year (SCAN Special Report June 1997). The deal includes the retirement of about $38 million in corporate debt, and brings a new shareholder into the company.

The debt was a legacy of Sopha Medical, the French gamma camera vendor that joined forces with Summit Nuclear to form SMV in 1995. SMV owed the debt primarily to CEA, a French government agency that was the majority shareholder in Sopha. That debt has now been converted into equity.

In a separate transaction, investment firm Oracle Strategic Partners of New York City acquired a substantial minority position in SMV in exchange for additional funding. Oracle, which did not have a previous position in the company, now has two seats on SMV's six-seat board.

The transactions provide a controlling interest in SMV to the company's management, led by CEO Jean Plazenet. SMV believes that the moves will eliminate doubts about the company's financial health that have plagued the firm since the merger between Sopha and Summit. In fact, SMV's market share has climbed by several points in recent months, and the company's backlog is booming, according to Bill Bishop, vice president of business development. The company claims the number-three market-share position in the U.S. and the number-one position in Europe. It expects to report a profitable year in 1997, with annual revenues projected to be $85 million.

In other SMV news, the company has commenced delivery of its MPX and SPX series PowerStation computers, which use the IBM RISC System/6000 workstation platform with 64-bit architecture. The new PowerStations come configured with up to a 200-MHz CPU, 128 MB of memory, 2-GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive. Netscape's Navigator Web browser software is provided on the MPX and SPX series PowerStation computers, which were demonstrated at the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in June (SCAN 5/28/97).