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1 November 2001

Smiths Group has acquired Bivona Medical Technologies, a leading US supplier of silicone tubes used in anaesthesia and critical care. It has been acquired from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation for $35.6 million. Bivona significantly extends Smiths Medical's core product range of single-use disposable devices, adding new product and material technologies and strengthening its position in the market for paediatric devices.

Commenting on the acquisition, chief executive Keith Butler-Wheelhouse said: "Vital to the continued success of our Medical division is the regular introduction of new products. We achieve this through a growing level of R & D and also by acquiring innovative businesses such as Bivona. This company will provide an excellent fit with our airway management business, enhancing our core Medical activities by adding a well established range of high-margin devices. This will provide an exciting new dimension to our global operations."

Bivona is a specialist supplier of silicone tracheostomy tubes for specific applications in hospital, and long-term use outside the hospital by patients who require a mechanical ventilator. Its other specialisation is endotracheal tubes, reinforced with wire to meet special surgical/anatomical requirements. These are used to maintain an airway through the mouth to the lungs during anaesthesia.

Annual sales of Bivona products are $21 million and the company has a strong record of annual growth. With less than 20 per cent of sales currently outside the US, Bivona is expected to realise considerable advantage from Smiths Medical's world-wide distribution network, particularly in Europe and Japan.

Bivona's silicone products complement the extensive Portex range of single-use devices manufactured in the US and UK and marketed world-wide. Portex tubes, made of PVC, are lower cost, more rigid devices, typically used for short periods. For some applications, particularly in babies and infants, and for long-term use, a softer material such as silicone is preferred.

Bivona employs 260 people at Gary, Indiana, near Chicago. The consideration of $35.6 million was paid in cash and completion of the acquisition was simultaneous with the signing of the purchase agreement.

ENDS

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