Thuasne is strengthening its weight in the United States and in the process is setting foot in a new market segment. The Saint-Etienne family group, which is one of the leaders in medical devices in Europe (compression stockings, lumbar belts, elbow pads, etc.), just bought Knit-Rite, an American company specializing in medical textiles. The amount of the transaction remains confidential. Founded in 1923, the company has a revenue of $ 25 million (170 employees) and has two factories, in North Carolina and Texas.
it’s about the fourth acquisition of Thuasne on the other side of the Atlantic in ten years, its first market ahead of Germany. With this operation, the tricolor ETI takes a strategic step, entering the sector of socks intended for prostheses of amputees. A very technical niche market, in which Knit-Rite is the leader in the United States, with 60% of the sector.
A new market
” Along with the obesity problems, diabetes is very common in the country. Sometimes it is necessary to amputate patients, relieves Elizabeth ducottet, CEO of Thuasne. These devices fit on the leg via special socks to keep the venous circulation in good condition. “. Obesity is a scourge that affects more and more countries, in Asia, India and Europe. For its technological expertise, Knit-Rite holds several patents.
In addition to this equipment for orthopedic prostheses, the SME is also specialized in medical compression (stockings, socks, etc.). One activity, the complementary one, of Thuasne. ” There are two pillars in the group: the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, linked to the joints, or back pathologies with belts. The other is everything related to medical compression, precise Delphine Hanton, Managing Director, and daughter of the current CEO. With this buyout, we will therefore benefit from compression stockings and socks, with American standards that we did not have until now. “. This will allow it to hold the three world standards in this sector: French, German, and American. ” This will open up all the markets in the world that use this North American reference. », Continues the manager.
Despite the vagaries of the health crisis, the acquisition was completed in six weeks. Thuasne has known Knit-Rite for a long time which was run by Mark Smith, majority shareholder and 3rd generation family. ” We are two family businesses, it matters. The previous owner knows that this is an industrial investment and that we will keep the sites, the employees, and continue to innovate »Insists Elisabeth Ducottet.
With the pandemic, and postponed orthopedic operations, the tricolor group born in Saint-Etienne has seen its turnover decrease. It forecasts a decline of 9% in 2020, against 233 million euros in 2019 (40% internationally). Combined with Knit-Rite, its sales are expected to cross the $ 300 million mark this year, with more than 2,450 employees worldwide.
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