Respironics perks up cash sales

Sunday, October 7, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. - Don't look for Respironics to challenge Starbucks anytime soon, but the sleep manufacturer announced a deal last week at Medtrade that could help it compete with a good cup of joe.

The acquisition of Apollo Light Systems adds light therapy to Respironics' suite of sleep products. It also caters to the company's vision of expanding beyond its core products for sleep disordered breathing, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

"Light therapy in the morning can serve as a pick-me-up," said David Motley, vice president and general manager of Respironics' Sleep Well Ventures division. "The benefits are scientifically proven, and people using the products benefit from it."

Light therapy is commonly used to help people overcome seasonal affective disorder or SAD, as well as jet lag and other circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Apollo's products are sold through mass-market retailers--Costco, for one--and over the Internet. They also offer cash-sale potential for HME providers, said Don Spence, president of the sleep and respiratory group.

"We are a healthy company and managing our investments to create new markets," said CEO John Miclot. "I'm convinced that is one of the best things we can do for provider customers."

In giving a rundown on the company's fiscal health, Miclot reported that Respironics has about $300 million in cash and virtually no debt; it has met or exceeded Wall Street's estimates for seven straight years; and the company will spend $70 million this year on research and development.

"We've got to say one step ahead and continue to innovate," said John Frank, vice president and general manager for home respiratory care. "Shrinking will not grow your business. We've got to have growth in new markets."