Bruno sells scooter, PWC business to Access Point

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. - Bruno Independent Living Aids sold its wheelchair and scooter business in late October to Access Point Medical, a new HME vendor headed by a cast of HME luminaries, including former Apria CEO Jerry Jones.
The sale allows Bruno to focus on its core lift business and allows Access Point to quickly establish a line of power mobility products (See HME News 11/2005). Access will market the products under its own name and manufacture them in plants it owns and operates in China.
"We do not plan on being the lowest cost product," said Mike Davis, Access' vice president of marketing. "What we will be is the lowest-cost quality product."
The deal comes as no real surprise. Bruno has been quietly extricating itself from the market since January, when the company began telling customers it would discontinue production of its three K0011 power chairs. In April, the company told customers it would stop making six different models of scooters.
When it came to wheelchairs and scooters, Bruno had a tough time competing with less-expensive offshore alternatives to its American-made products.
"If you describe Bruno today, we are a lift company," said Mike Krawczyk, marketing services manager. "Scooters and power wheelchairs were never a big part (of the company) and it made sense to get out. This also allows Access to get into the power chair and lift business with a quality product, and that is key for them."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was not a gigantic transaction. Bruno generates $60 million to $80 million a year and only about 10% of that came from the company's scooter and power chair business. The company has always generated the bulk of its revenue from stair lifts and vehicle lifts, Krawczyk said.
The transaction includes the transfer of intellectual property, regulatory approvals and engineering designs.