By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq
Toshiba is looking to sell a majority stake its medical diagnosis imaging business as part of a company-wide restructuring. The Japanese manufacturer of X-ray machines and MRI scanners is seeking outsider investments, including potential M&A transactions, though no deals are imminent.
In a statement issued last week, Toshiba had refuted Japanese media reports that it was selling its medical equipment division, stating that, "nothing has been decided in respect of the sales of shares of Toshiba Tec Corporation and Toshiba Medical Systems, and no concrete agreements have been entered into with any specific companies."
However, through another statement released yesterday, the company said, "Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation [TMSC] has decided to work on inviting outside majority shareholders, in order to strengthen the financial ability to further realize our growth strategies, following the announcement of ‘Toshiba Revitalization Action Plan’ by Toshiba Corporation. TMSC has been conducting many R&D investments, but for the future growth and innovation of technology and products, it is important to continue making further investments, including M&As."
In recent months, Toshiba's medical business has been actively bulking up its portfolio of imaging solutions. TMSC acquired Olea Medical in October to integrate Olea’s post-processing software with Toshiba subsidiary Vital Image’s Vitrea software for improved collaboration in imaging workflows. In June, TMSC inked a pact with Merge to offer Merge’s cardiology PACS (picture archiving communication system) and hemodynamic monitoring with Toshiba's vascular X-ray systems.
In 2014, Toshiba subsidiary Vital Image landed a nearly $200 million deal to supply radiology systems to United States military and civilian agencies, and Toshiba closed another supply deal worth $515 million with oncology device and software firm Varian Medical Systems.
Recently developed imaging technologies introduced by Toshiba include: 3D Superb Micro-Vascular Imaging (SMI), which enhances ultrasound 3D views of smaller vessels in and around areas like tumors and lymph nodes; FIRST CT imaging improvement solution, and; a virtual reality (VR) technology that projects images onto a dome-shaped screen inside the bore of MRI machines, helping reduce patient anxiety during scans.
A New York Times article said that Toshiba indeed is looking for a buyer for its healthcare arm — in addition to the company's personal computer and Westinghouse nuclear plant businesses — as part of a long-term strategy to offload underperforming assets and revitalize the company. The plan includes shedding 7,800 jobs, mostly from the company's consumer electronics division, which would contribute to a projected loss of $4.5 billion through March of fiscal year 2016.
Image credit: "Toshiba logo" by Toshiba Corporation. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.