Oxoid, now part of scientific research services provider Thermo Fisher Scientific, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of microbiological diagnostic products.
Its products are used globally in clinical and industrial laboratories to identify bacteria and other organisms causing disease and spoilage.
Oxoid was a secondary buyout, the original buyout from Unilever having taken place about three years earlier. It was very clear to us that Oxoid would grow strongly, having established itself as an independent company with new IT systems, a new research and development pipeline and a growing share in the global prepared media market.
During our ownership, the company launched several new products and built a prepared media facility in Perth, Scotland for £6m, and bought a manufacturing plant in Adelaide, Australia. From its existing operation in Ontario, Canada the company also significantly grew its sales in the US by expanding its American sales force. Through these actions and continued organic growth, Oxoid approximately doubled its profits in just over three years.
We had begun preparing Oxoid for an initial public offering when we received an unsolicited approach from Fisher Scientific, a large US listed laboratory equipment distributor. Fisher hoped to vertically integrate into certain high-value product areas - a plan that would benefit from Oxoid’s production of growing media products.
We completed the sale in early 2004, generating a return of 2.7x our investment and an IRR of 33%.