HASSLE, England—Fenner P.L.C.'s recent purchase of silicone product maker MRI Medical is a clear sign the company is back on the acquisition trail and looking to expand in the health care products industry.
The firm temporarily stopped buying businesses in early 2009 as part of its overall plan to tighten its belt in the midst of the global economic recession.
In April 2010, it said it was back in the market and had put a new program in place to allow it to expand if the right opportunities came along.
Purchasing all of the shares of Tucson, Ariz.-based MRI Medical—a developer and manufacturer of cutting-edge silicone-based devices for medical product companies founded in 1986—fits that mold, said Nick Hobson, divisional managing director for the firm's Advanced Engineered Products division.
The acquistion has created a number of inroads for Fenner in the medical industry, he indicated.
MRI will operate as an independent company as part of the AEP division, which has seven businesses within its fold.
Fenner did not divulge financial details other than to say it acquired gross assets of $2.6 million when it made the deal.
“MRI Medical expands Fenner's expertise in polymer and elastomer engineering and is a further demonstration of the AEP division's focus on performance critical applications,” according to CEO Mark Abrahams. The acquired company is primarily known as a developer and manufacturer of silicone catheters.
Equally important, MRI Medical and Sacent Medical L.L.C., which was part of Prodesco Inc. when Fenner bought the company in 2008, are both engaged in the medical industry, “using business models which enable their customers to introduce less-invasive medical devices,” he said.
Both deals give the company a significant presence in the medical industry, according to Abrahams.
MRI is a full service company, capable of taking a product from a drawing on the back of an envelope through every stage, including manufacturing and packaging, according to Hobson.
Secant Medical designs and custom manufactures biomedical products made from textiles mixed with high-performance polymeric and metallic biomaterials.
The business expanded its production capacity in May by adding about 40,000 square feet to its plant in Quakertown, Pa., where it's based.
Hassle-headquartered Fenner, primarily known as a producer of conveyor belts and other elastomer-based products, said it is confident in the short- and long-term outlook for both MRI and Secant Medical.
The firm's health care business is focused on supplying medical product producers with polymer and textile offerings, primarily in the orthopedic and cardiovascular segments.
Fenner operates with two primary divisions, Hobson said: Conveyor Belts and Advanced Engineered Products.
The firm's plants are operating at capacity, the company said, and it expects to add another facility in China within the next three years.
Fenner has made major strides since January 2009 when it began restructuring its operations, with much of the focus on its industrial conveyor belt sector. It cut about 290 jobs globally, 50 of them at its North American factories.
The company implemented cost-reduction initiatives in parts of its operations experiencing weaker demand at the time.
However, Hobson said, historically Fenner has grown both organically and through acquisitions with a focus on improving innovation and services.