Big Apple giant gobbles up the competition

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mt. VERNON, N.Y. -- New York City metro giant Landauer-Metropolitan solidified its position as the area's largest HME provider in late July when it acquired the region's number-two player, Low Surgical & Medical Supply.
While Landauer's sales now top out at roughly $50 million to $55 million (they were about $40 million before the deal), another notable story line here is Low Surgicial's turnaround.
In 2000, private equity group New Caanan Capital purchased the Great Neck, N.Y., company out of bankruptcy, hired a top-notch management team with industry experience and over five years rebuilt the company into a successful respiratory provider.
"The thing that surprised me about Low Surgical was how nice they made that business," said one industry watcher. "It had a checkered past. The management team did a good job."
Three members of that management team -- Scott Sommer, Mona Zeliger and Bill Simonds -- will join Landauer-Metropolitan.
By acquiring Low, Landauer made the necessary move to add more profitable respiratory business to its full-line product mix, said another industry watcher.
"This can't hurt them," he said. "They have to do something because the margins on their supply business aren't strong."
At Landauer, company President Lou Rocco said "we're very excited."
"We have every major managed care contract and have assembled some of the most talented professionals in the industry," he said. "We were the number-one player, they were the number-two player. There is no three, four or five that is even close."
By acquiring Low, Landauer now generates 50+% of its business by providing oxygen, said CFO Joe Luceri.
Landauer will continue to focus on strengthening its presence in NYC and neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey, Luceri said.
"Our promise to our customers is that if we get an order at 5 p.m., say for a hospital bed, and they want it that day, the patient will be sleeping on that bed that night," Rocco said. "We built our business not on mass marketing but on good service."