Tyco officials mum on PB's future

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Thursday, February 28, 2002

EXETER, New Hampshire - What does the future hold for Puritan Bennett now that parent company Tyco International plans to subdivide into four independent companies? Some voices within the HME industry sound optimistic, but Tyco officials weren't saying much at press time in early February.
Pembroke, Bermuda-based Tyco - which acquired Puritan Bennett some18 months ago as part of a major health care buying spree - recently announced a plan to split Tyco into four independent, publicly traded companies: Security and Electronics, Healthcare, Fire Protection and Flow Control, and Financial Services. The initial announcement caused the company's stock to plummet and sparked conjecture about Tyco's financial health. Some even compared the situation to Enron.

Now, weeks after the Dow Jones dust has settled, the HME industry is left to guess where Puritan Bennett fits in the picture. And at this point, Tyco officials at the company's U.S. headquarters will only say is that PB is "definitely" part of their future plans.

"Due to SEC regulations that prohibit 'gun-jumping,' we can't discuss Puritan Bennett with any specificity," Tyco spokeswoman Maryanne Kane told HME News. "But we can say Puritan Bennett is an integral part of the [initial public offering]."

Off-the-record speculation among industry figures contends that PB probably won't be affected to any great degree and that it will continue forging ahead.

"I wouldn't write PB off," one source said. "I expect them to keep doing what they always have. They have a great history and great group of people. I think the worst is behind them."

Another observer believes "PB will come through as most companies do in these situations" and that "nothing really should change. They are a very strong company with no major problems and a good inner structure."

Kane said more details about PB will become available later this spring when the IPO is slated. HME

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