Dade Behring Settling in after Years of Mergers, Acquisitions
Mawhorr, S. A., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: S. A. Mawhorr Daily Herald Business Writer
Business: Medical diagnostics
CEO: Jim Reid-Anderson
2002 revenue: $1.28 billion
2002 income: $230 million before taxes, depreciation, amortization and special charges
Web site: www.dadebehring.com
After emerging from Chapter 11 reorganization last fall in just 60 days, Deerfield-based Dade Behring made its debut on the Nasdaq stock market last month and watched its stock jump from about $14 to more than $19.
Now, Chief Executive Officer Jim Reid-Anderson is eyeing steady growth after years of mergers and acquisitions that ended up saddling the medical testing company with overwhelming debt.
The company started in 1994 when a group of investors bought Baxter's diagnostics business with borrowed money and established Dade International as an independent company.
In 1996, Dade bought DuPont's diagnostics business, which expanded Dade's offerings to include clinical chemistry.
Meanwhile, Hoescht AG, an international life sciences company, established Behring Diagnostics as a stand-alone business in 1995.
Later that year, the newly created company acquired Syva, which specializes in tests to detect illicit drugs as well as monitor medicines.
In 1997, Dade and Behring merged to create the company now headquartered in Deerfield with operations in 43 countries and 6,400 employees worldwide.
Despite the ever expanding portfolio of products, the company could not climb out from under a growing debt load. In 2000, the euro plummeted and interest rates shot up and the company missed meeting two of its bank covenants.
At that point, Reid-Anderson took over as chief executive.
First on his agenda was to decide how to focus the company's resources and energy.
There's a $20 billion market for diagnostic testing equipment and supplies, including test kits for consumers. Dade Behring chose to focus on clinical labs and their needs for machines and testing supplies - a market estimated at $12 billion.
That meant eliminating some product lines along with 1,000 workers to save about $70 million in annual expenses.
Eventually Reid-Anderson and his management team decided to enter a Chapter 11 reorganization that would allow lenders to trade debt for stock in order to reduce the debt load and breathe new life into the company.
Reid-Anderson says the company did not lose a single customer during the reorganization and the company emerged last October with its debt slashed in half to about $800 million.
It also emerged as a public company trading over the counter before graduating to the Nasdaq Stock Market last month.
With its focus on the lab, Dade Behring aims to satisfy every need a technician might have including building machines that do more work while taking up less space. …