Nashville healthcare entrepreneurs Lou Wallace and Charles Mann are selling their surgical-instruments sales and distribution companies to NYSE-listed Symmetry Medical Inc.
Warsaw, Ind.-based Symmetry announced yesterday it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Specialized Surgical Instruments, SSI Ultra Instrument and Ultra Containers of America, all based in Davidson County.
Wallace told NashvillePost.com this morning that while the deal calls for a "down payment" of about $15.1 million from Symmetry, he believes his and Mann's continued involvement in the enterprise will earn the co-founders twice that amount.
Symmetry's release yesterday said SSI and UCA produced about $21 million in revenue in 2006. The deal is expected to close by Sept. 30.
Wallace said today the interrelated companies employ about 80 persons, including 35 sales representatives in 15 states and 45 employees in Nashville.
Symmetry CFO Fred Hite told NashvillePost.com this afternoon that no layoffs are planned at SSI and growth projections will probably prompt additional hiring.
SSI President Wallace and Executive Vice President Mann have equal ownership of SSI and SSI Ultra, while Wallace owns majority interest in UCA.
Wallace, 66, explained that he learned the specialty-surgical business while a sales executive with Chicago-based American Hospital Supply Corp., for which he often called on customer Hospital Corporation of America.
He and Mann founded SSI in 1976, immediately leveraging relationships with HCA. Today, HealthTrust Purchasing Group is listed among SSI's major customers.
In a sense, SSI was led to Symmetry as a result of concerns expressed by the Food & Drug Administration regarding the manufacturing practices of a subcontractor who fabricated SSI's instrument-transport cases.
Wallace explained that in response to a November 2006 FDA warning regarding those practices and related documentation issues, SSI fired its manufacturing subcontractor and earlier this year turned to Symmetry's PolyVac manufacturing unit for support. Discussions of an acquisition followed.
Counting SSI and UCA, Symmetry has announced at least five complementary acquisitions in past year. The company projects about $290 million in revenue for its current fiscal year.