Soviet ties lead Fischer east

January 16, 1991

Morgan W. Nields, chairman and CEO of Fischer Imaging, has investedconsiderable time and resources in developing business connectionsin the Soviet Union. He has traveled to that country a half-dozentimes since joining Comed, a U.S./USSR joint venture,

Morgan W. Nields, chairman and CEO of Fischer Imaging, has investedconsiderable time and resources in developing business connectionsin the Soviet Union. He has traveled to that country a half-dozentimes since joining Comed, a U.S./USSR joint venture, two yearsago (see previous story).

The Soviet economy offers "significant downstream opportunities"as it restructures to a market-based system over the next 10 years,Nields told SCAN. His Soviet connections have also opened up businessopportunities for Fischer in the rest of Eastern Europe.

Medical imaging markets in Eastern Europe are changing rapidlyand much of the business is up for grabs, which is enticing toa vendor less established in Europe, Nields said.

"We could bang our heads trying to sell our equipmentin France and Germany and make very little headway against Siemens,Philips and GE," Nields said. "The risks are higherin Eastern Europe, but things are moving fast there, and a smallcompany can find opportunities in those fast-moving markets."

Soviet executives introduced Nields to the general directorof a large computer manufacturer during a trip to Bulgaria inDecember. Fischer is exploring possible cooperation with thatcompany in assembling x-ray equipment in Bulgaria, which wouldthen be shipped to the Soviet Union. German and Japanese medicalimaging competitors are also interested in the business, he said.

As the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe implementhard-currency-based trading this year, the Eastern Europeans mustmake products their larger neighbor wants to exchange for oil,gas and other goods that have international commercial value.Such products would likely include state-of-the-art medical imagingequipment, Nields said.