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01 Jun 2004 | Australasian Dental Practice

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KaVo purchases by Danaher Corporation

KaVo, one of the powerhouses of German dental equipment manufacturing, has changed from private family ownership to be the second acquisition of an emerging player in the industry, Danaher Corporation.


The owners of Kaltenbach & Voigt GmbH & Co. KG, a group of 17 individuals from the Kaltenbach, Hoffmeister and Wiemers families, have agreed, subject to regulatory approvals, for Danaher to acquire 100% ownership of the company.

Headquartered in Biberach/Riss, Germany, KaVo is one of the world's leading manufacturers of equipment for dental practices and dental laboratories, with annual sales revenues of Euro 370 million in 2003 and about 3,300 employees. The company's product portfolio since its formation in 1909 has traditionally ranged from handpieces to dental units. In recent times, KaVo has pursued the acquisition and development of high tech lines, most notably the KEY Laser 3, the DIAGNOdent and now the HealOzone. A full range of products for the dental laboratory is also on offer.

KaVo is comprised of four divisions: instruments, complete dental equipment, dental systems and laboratory with manufacturing in Biberach, Warthausen and Leutkirch in Germany as well as other facilities in Italy, Brazil and North America.

Danaher is a New York Stock Exchange listed company headquartered in Washington DC. The company had 2003 sales revenue of over five billion U.S. dollars and has six strategic platforms: Electronic Test, Environmental, Motion, Product Identification, Mechanics Hand Tools and Medical Technology. The company is also engaged in a number of niche markets. Danaher has approximately 30,000 employees, with about 17,000 of these in the USA.

Danaher first came to notice in the dental market in early December last year when it entered into an agreement with Dentsply to acquire its Gendex equipment business for US$102.5 million. The transaction was completed in February. Gendex, which transacts approximately US$100 million per annum, manufactures intraoral and panoramic X-ray equipment including a Phosphor Sensitive Plate (PSP) digital option.

According to the company, the current management will remain in place to secure the continuity of all business processes and customer relationships for the future.

"KaVo will benefit from the relationship with Danaher, helping us to expand our offering for dentists and dental technicians by developing and expanding the dental business into new segments of the dental market," said Dr Martin Rickert, CEO of KaVo. "Our customers will benefit from this expansion of our product portfolio.

"With KaVo, we are acquiring one of the best-known brands in the dental sector with an excellent reputation worldwide," said H. Lawrence Culp Jnr, President and CEO of Danaher. "The addition of KaVo further expands our position in this attractive market".

KaVo is distributed in Australia through Ivoclar Vivadent and in New Zealand through Ebos. "We've recently renewed our contract as agents for KaVo until December 31, 2008," said Mr Phil Turley, Managing Director of Ivoclar Vivadent Australia, "So for our customers, it will be business as usual. In the long term, we're likely to see benefits from the new organisation in our part of the world and I believe the new owners will bring new energy and capital to the very well respected KaVo brand."

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