Barco broadens display offerings with Voxar buy

Barco moved today to expand the breadth of its medical imaging display business, acquiring Scottish 3D software developer Voxar for 39 million euros ($47.2 million U.S.).

The deal brings together the Kortrijk, Belgium-based vendor's PACS and imaging modality display activities with Voxar's 3D offerings, which include Voxar 3D and Voxar Colonscreen CT colonography software. As a result, the firm will be able to provide all the components of a 3D medical-image display package, said Jean-Pierre Tanghe, Barco's president of corporate communication and investor relations.

"We see a growing necessity for 3D or image rendering, so from a technological point of view, it's very interesting for us to go into that new (market)," Tanghe said. "Also, customers that Voxar and Barco have are, to a large extent, the same customers, so going there with a combined offering can only make things better."

From Voxar's perspective, the acquisition was integral to the firm's goal of transitioning from a start-up to a large global operation, said Voxar founder and CEO Andrew Bissell.

"We really wanted to expand very significantly and, ideally, wanted an industrial partner that could offer not just financial support, but also a global infrastructure," Bissell said.

Barco will integrate the Edinburgh-based firm into its medical imaging business unit, serving as the vendor's worldwide center of expertise for 3D software products. In addition, Voxar's 80 associates, including the current management team, have joined Barco. Bissell has become global chief strategic officer for Barco Medical Imaging Systems.

The acquisition will open up sales and business opportunities, including the ability to cross-sell to common customers, he said. But Barco and Voxar will maintain their vendor neutrality, said Piet Candeel, Barco vice president.

Each product line will stand on its own, Candeel said. As the business and the sales processes differ for the Voxar 3D offerings and Barco's existing displays, there will be separate sales teams. Barco will seek to leverage the common infrastructure it has in place around the world, however.

"We have an international sales network, and we are used to working with different product groups in different places in the world," Tanghe said. "This will certainly be an advantage for Voxar and its products."

Barco expects Voxar to produce 2004 sales of 7 million euros ($8.5 million U.S.), double its 2001 sales. Voxar's operations are expected to become cash-flow positive in early 2005. By 2007, sales are expected to grow to 50 million euros ($60.5 million U.S.), following anticipated double-digit growth, Barco said.

Founded in 1995, Voxar has partnerships with over 30 PACS vendors, including Agfa HealthCare, Fujifilm Medical Systems, Philips Medical Systems, and Siemens Medical Solutions.

In addition to its vendor partnerships, Voxar offers its products direct to end-users. Those efforts will continue with Barco, Bissell said.

"One of the strengths that we bring to Barco is direct contact with the end-customer," Bissell said. "That brings not just the obvious benefits of revenue, but perhaps more importantly, direct contact with the customer, and understanding more and more what the customers require and how to enhance the product offerings to meet those customer needs."

Barco's traditional display offerings will remain with its traditional indirect channels, however, Candeel said.

By Erik L. Ridley staff writer
September 15, 2004

Related Reading

Voxar adds 3D to Bournemouth PACS, September 1, 2004

Barco gets FDA nod for flat-panel mammo, August 31, 2004

Stentor integrates Voxar 3D, August 12, 2004

Barco pairs up with Fuji France, August 19, 2004

Barco mammo display gets FDA OK, June 15, 2004

Copyright © 2004

Page 1 of 775
Next Page