Atos Medical

Investment summary

Fund: Fund V
Investment theme: Buy-and-build and growth acceleration
Investment date: April 2005
Exit date: September 2011

Business description

Atos Medical is a Swedish-based medical devices business, engaged in the research, design, manufacture and marketing of laryngology, tracheostomy and other ear, nose and throat ("ENT") related products. The company's key products are voice prostheses and heat and moisture exchangers. These products help patients regain speech and respiratory functions following surgical removal of the voice box (laryngectomy), often the result of treatment for larynx cancer.


Atos Medical was identified by Nordic Capital as an attractive investment opportunity during its days as a subsidiary of listed Swedish life science conglomerate Perbio Science. After Perbio was acquired by the listed American biotechnology company Fisher Scientific International, Nordic Capital continued to monitor Atos as it was evidently not related to the core business of Fisher. Nordic Capital was finally granted an exclusive opportunity to acquire Atos at the end of 2004.

Investment rationale

With Atos Medical, Nordic Capital would acquire a successful company in an attractive medical technology segment where Nordic Capital's experience and insight could significantly drive value. Atos Medical was a company with a focused product portfolio in a small yet highly attractive niche market.

The core laryngology business was likely to remain an attractive growth engine for the company. Within the investment horizon, growth for both key products (voice prostheses and heat and moisture exchangers) was to be derived primarily from further penetration of existing markets (Germany, US and UK representing 50% of total expected growth).

Value added

During Nordic Capital's ownership, Atos Medical made a shift in strategy from being a 'broad supplier of products to the ENT field, with a strong laryngology franchise' to being a 'focused supplier of products for laryngology and long-term tracheotomy patients, with a two-pronged strategy for third party products'. It made its first expansion into tracheostomy through a German acquisition in 2007, and subsequently invested further into that area in order to build second leg to an already successful laryngology franchise.

Also, it closed four smaller add-on acquisitions (and declined several sub-optimal opportunities).

Executing on a selective M&A strategy has strengthened the company by adding capabilities within home care in Germany and France, and positioned the company for forward integration in Poland, Italy and Japan.

The company stepped up efforts to establish standards of care in existing markets and reimbursement for laryngology products in existing as well as new markets, (e.g. Poland and Japan) providing for future growth opportunities. 



The company was sold to the Swedish private equity company EQT through an auction process which was initiated during Q2 2011. The company's attractive financial characteristics and proven resilience during the global recession attracted strong interest from multiple financial sponsors.

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