Bridgepoint buys European dialysis group

EQT and Investor make a quick return on their €4.3 billiion acquisition of medical technology group Gambro, selling Gambro Healthcare to mid-market rival Bridgepoint less than a year after acquisition

Bridgepoint, a Euiropean mid-market buyout firm has seen off competitiion from 3i and Warburg Pincus to buy Gambro Healthcare, the dialysis services care arm of private equity-backed Swedish Gambro Group.

The price was not diclosed, however, Europe’s second largest provider of corporate dialysis care is expected to generate revenues of €246 million and EBITDA of €48m by the end of 2007.

EQT and Investor de-listed Gambro Group from the Stockholm Stock Exchange in July 2006 in a €4.3 billion take-private. The size of the deal was one of the causes of EQT’s early return to fundraising that summer.

Bridgepoint estimates that a combination of factors will drive demand for the services offered by companies such as Gambro Healthcare, including the increase in lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension. The worldwide dialysis patient population grew by 6 percent to 1.5 million in 2006 and is estimated to grow to over 2 million by 2011.

The deal is not Bridgepoint’s first foray into healthcare. Previous investments include Attendo,the largest provider of services for elderly and disabled people in the Nordic region, which it sold in December 2006; and Medica, one of France’s largest private operators of nursing homes, which it sold in July 2006.

It currently owns Alliance Medical, a European provider of diagnostic imaging services; SwissCaps, Europe’s number two contract manufacturer of medical capsules and tablets; and Tunstall, a provider of alarm-based telecare systems for the elderly and infirm.

This transaction is Bridgepoint’s fifth major acquisition this year following the €540 million acquisition of Fat Face, a UK clothing brand; the €774 million acquisition of Wolters Kluwer Education, a Dutch educational publishing business; a majority stake in Dragenopharm, a prescription drug contract manufacturer; and last week’s £145.5 million acquisition of Leeds Bradford International Airport.