Agfa buys European HIT leader

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Boosting its presence in Europe's healthcare IT market, Agfa Healthcare inked a $338 million agreement to acquire healthcare information systems and electronic health records (EHR) developer GWI of Bonn, Germany. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close at the beginning of 2005, Agfa said.

GWI develops and markets administrative and clinical IT systems for hospitals through its integrated and scalable IT system ORBIS. ORBIS encompasses a range of general administration, workflow and documentation systems as well as highly specific clinical departmental systems. GWI's customer base comprises more than 2,000 medical sites in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.

According to Agfa, GWI expects to garner revenues of nearly $131.8 million in 2004. Agfa said the transaction price of an up-front payment of $338 million will be settled at closing, while the earn-out of up to $125.2 million will be paid if and when specific commercial milestones are achieved which is expected to occur at the latest in 2008.

"This transaction, together with the previously announced acquisition of the French company Symphonie on Line, represents a major step in our strategy to become a leading player in the fast growing markets of information systems for the hospital sector," said Ludo Verhoeven, Agfa's CEO. "Hospital managers and governments are demanding tools allowing the hospitals to better manage the care process and contributing to making healthcare spending affordable and controllable."

"With the acquisitions of GWI and Symphonie on Line…we will leverage our current customer base, knowledge and experience in healthcare information systems with state of the art IT applications such as ORBIS to drive the transformation of healthcare delivery," said Philippe Houssiau, Head of Agfa's HealthCare business group. "Agfa's and GWI's PACS are very complementary. We will safeguard continuity for customers using either system, while planning for an integration that maximizes clinical and workflow benefits."