PE firm buys Woodbury as 'growth business'

Monday, April 23, 2012

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – Private equity firm MTS Health Investors liked what it saw with Woodbury Health Products, and in March, acquired the mail-order provider of incontinence and catheter supplies.

“Woodbury has a really strong platform with a solid base that is diverse by both product and geography,” said Oliver Moses, an MTS partner. “We felt strongly about backing them.”

In addition to its direct-to-consumer business, Woodbury markets to referral sources like homecare agencies, physicians and state programs. 

An aging population and increased rates of diabetes and obesity, which have a high correlation with incontinence, means you’ve got a market that is ripe for growth, said Moses. The provider’s commitment to its customers also makes Woodbury an attractive bet, said CEO Seth Segel.

“This is a service business first and foremost, and what attracted me to the company was that patients come first,” he said. “Then, you’ve got the depth of knowledge and capability of the employees all in place.”

That customer service is something that sometimes lacks in mail order supply companies, said Brian Darling, executive vice president with Woodbury.

“I think it’s important that customers speak to people who know about the products,” he said. “We all come in different shapes and sizes, so not just one product works. Our ability to get on the phone with customers and really help educate them on what products may work best for them, let them try before they buy and get the product at a fair price—this has been very successful over the years.”

Woodbury Health Products was founded in 1977 and serves more than 20,000 customers. While many customers, especially on the incontinence side, pay out-of-pocket, the provider also accepts private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. 

In addition to organic growth, including expanding into new product categories, Woodbury will look at opportunistic acquisitions.

“I see it fundamentally as a growth business, (with) greater diversity of product and definitely larger in size, in scale and in scope,” said Segel.