It took more than two years to accomplish, but SSL International P.L.C. has sold its medical products division and finally will become a consumer products company in July, specializing in latex condoms and foot care goods.
A management buyout group, funded through Apax Partners & Co., will purchase the Regent rubber and synthetic latex surgical gloves and Hibi antiseptics operation from SSL for about $308 million.
The deal, the third and last step in the breakup of SSL's medical goods business, is expected to be finalized by the end of June, although it still needs approval from SSL shareholders and regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Malaysia, according to an SSL spokesman.
Apax Partners, a large European venture capital company, will pay $290 million in cash and assume about $18 million in debt, SSL said in a prepared statement. The new company will be called Regent Medical Ltd.
More than 2,000 employees, 1,900 of them based in Malaysia, will be transferred to Regent Medical from SSL when the sale is completed. The deal includes the firm's two surgical glove manufacturing and packing factories in Malaysia, the spokesman said.
An Apax spokeswoman said complete details on the transaction and the buyout group were not yet available and likely won't be until July.
The sale will allow SSL to focus on the consumer end of its business, which includes rubber and synthetic latex Durex condoms, over-the-counter medicines and Scholl-brand foot care goods, the spokesman said. ``The principal consumer lines are growing-especially Durex, which has come out with new products that have done well,'' he said.
The London-based company will use the cash proceeds from the sale to reduce debt.
The transaction marks the final phase of SSL's restructuring plan, put in place in April 2002. It sold its Marigold industrial glove unit in November to Comasec S.A. for an estimated $37 million, and in March divested its wound care management business to newly formed Medlock Medical Ltd. for about $100 million.
SSL's sales came in slightly above $1 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, the company reported May 27, which were about the same as the previous year. Operating profit fell to $126 million from $139 million in fiscal 2002.