Instrumentarium plans acquisition of Ziehm to build C-arm business

January 12, 2000

Instrumentarium has moved to increase its activity in specialty imaging markets by entering into a definitive agreement to acquire the Ziehm surgical imaging companies. Terms for the deal, which is expected to close by the end of January, were not

Instrumentarium has moved to increase its activity in specialty imaging markets by entering into a definitive agreement to acquire the Ziehm surgical imaging companies. Terms for the deal, which is expected to close by the end of January, were not immediately disclosed.

For Helsinki, Finland-based Instrumentarium, the deal will substantially improve its burgeoning surgical imaging efforts. Privately held Ziehm, which has more than two decades of experience in operating room C-arm imaging, claims to be the surgical imaging market leader in Germany, and also maintains a noticeable presence in the U.S., Dutch, and Scandinavian markets. Worldwide, the German company estimates that it has a 13% market share for C-arms, a figure similar to its U.S. position.

Instrumentarium has been marketing its own C-arm product, Omega, in the European and Asian markets, but hasn’t yet brought the system to the U.S. The vendor showed Omega, a mobile C-arm with a flat-panel digital fluoroscopy detector manufactured by Varian Associates, at the 1998 RSNA meeting (SCAN Special Report January 1999). Instrumentarium will continue with Omega for the immediate future, although it will eventually be phased out in favor of Ziehm’s product line, according to Folke Lindberg, general manager of Instrumentarium Imaging.

Following the close of the acquisition, Instrumentarium will merge its x-ray operations with Ziehm’s into a new, larger Instrumentarium Imaging division. Ziehm locations will assume responsibility for R&D and production related to surgical imaging. Ziehm has R&D and manufacturing capabilities at its locations in Nuremberg, Germany, and Riverside, CA.

Jurgen Ziehm, managing director and founder of Ziehm, will act as an advisor for Instrumentarium Imaging following the close of the deal. The Ziehm brand name will be continued. Ziehm markets its systems primarily through dealer sales, but also employs a combination of direct, dealer, and manufacturer representative efforts in some markets, including the U.S. and Germany.

In addition to the immediate benefits to its C-arm efforts, Instrumentarium executives also believe the acquisition is complementary to its anesthesia and patient monitoring equipment division, Datex-Ohmeda, since C-arms are used primarily in operating rooms. Surgical imaging data could also potentially be integrated into Datex-Ohmeda’s clinical information systems, Lindberg said.

For Ziehm, the deal allows the company to become a truly global player, a crucial position in today’s competitive marketplace, according to Wolfram Klawitter, president and CEO of Ziehm International.

“We are profitable, and didn’t need to sell,” he said. “But for the growth and future of the company, it was the right choice.”

Surgical imaging is a fast-growing market, increasing at a double-digit percentage rate, according to the firm. This growth is being driven by expanded clinical applications and the rise of minimally invasive surgical procedures, Klawitter said.

“Traditionally C-arms were primarily used in orthopedic (applications), urology studies, and pacemaker implantations,” he said. “Today, systems are also used in applications such as interventional work, vascular procedures, cardiac studies, pain management, endoscopy, and speech pathology.”