Invacare buys back rivals' concentrators

Sunday, July 31, 2005

ELYRIA, Ohio -- Invacare doubled the sales of its Homefill II concentrator and portable oxygen system among independent suppliers last month after offering $300 for any old concentrator -- Invacare's or a rival's -- in a special buy-back program.
The promotion boosted Invacare's HomeFill sales by about 2,100 units, representing purchases by about 250 customers. Invacare let suppliers trade in any concentrator for a $300 credit toward the purchase of a new Homefill II system.
"We have run $25 trade-in promotions in the past, but never anything of this magnitude in the five years I've been at the company," said Scott Wilkinson, group product manager for oxygen therapy products.
For Charlie Vanover, owner of PAC Medical in Ashland, Ky., the buy-back program answered a problem he'd been having with a fleet of 25 concentrator systems.
"They were noisy, they required too much service, they were too hot, patients didn't know how to operate them," said Vanover.
He'd been trying to sell his old units for $400 to $450 but found no takers until Invacare dangled the buy-back incentive.
Invacare ran the promotion for two weeks at the end of June. It may not be the last time the company tries to gobble up the competition.
"We're sorting through it now," said Wilkinson. "If there's a way to accommodate this again in the future, I think we will."