Clinical diagnostic laboratories
Transaction value
€2,900 million
Aug 2015 / Oct 2015

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The combination of Labco and Synlab (together, the "Group" or "Synlab") creates the largest clinical laboratory services company in Europe and is transformational for the industry. The Group represents the combination of two leading European operators of medical diagnostic laboratories, veterinary laboratory services, and environmental analysis. It is the only truly pan-European clinical laboratories business, operating across 35 countries* on three continents and undertaking more than 400 million clinical tests annually.

Labco was acquired by Cinven in August 2015 for an enterprise value of approximately €1.2 billion and Synlab was acquired by Cinven in October 2015 for an undisclosed amount. Together, the combined business generates more than €1.5 billion of revenue.

The Group conducts diagnostic tests, delivers results to prescribing doctors and patients, and provides assistance with the interpretation of clinical results through in-house laboratory doctors. It operates a large portfolio of hospital outsourcing contracts in Europe, providing services to both ambulatory care and hospitals. In addition to its core human diagnostic activities, the Group also provides veterinary and environmental analytical services.

The Group is a diversified business with no exposure to any single country, payor, or type of test. It has leading positions in all of the core European markets and the broadest capabilities across a range of routine and specialty tests. It operates more than 450 laboratories in addition to more than 1,000 collection centres across 28 countries in Europe, as well as having a presence in Latin America, the MENA region and Africa. The company has more than 13,000 employees and is nearly twice the size of its nearest competitor in Europe.

This investment builds on Cinven's extensive experience of investing in the healthcare sub-sectors of diagnostics and outsourced laboratory services, through landmark investments such as Phadia and Sebia, both in-vitro diagnostics businesses which supply testing equipment to clinical laboratories. Cinven's Healthcare team, along with its French and German teams identified the opportunity to acquire and combine Labco and Synlab given the highly fragmented clinical diagnostics laboratories market across Europe, and therefore the considerable scope for further add-on acquisitions, and the genuine benefits of scale for operators able to provide diagnostics services more efficiently for patients and payors.

Clinical diagnostics benefit from positive growth drivers such as ageing populations, the increasing incidence of chronic diseases combined with the growing value placed on early detection and prevention of illnesses, patient-centric diagnostics innovation, and the opportunities for healthcare cost savings. An additional growth driver is the trend towards outsourced clinical laboratory testing by private hospitals.

The creation of a true pan-European diagnostics champion with global reach has numerous strategic advantages:

  • Medical leadership in specialist areas such as anatomical pathology, genetic testing and nuclear medicine;
  • Efficiency in the provision of diagnostic services to patients and payors, in otherwise highly fragmented markets;
  • Diversification (by geography, payor and business model), which enables the business to transport medical innovation and operational excellence across borders;
  • Strong financial performance, with stable and strong cash flow generation;
  • Opportunity to accelerate consolidation in the highly fragmented European diagnostics laboratory market and increase international presence.

Cinven completed the acquisitions of Labco and Synlab in August and October 2015 respectively. Dr Bartl Wimmer has been appointed as Group Chief Executive and Philippe Charrier as Chairman. Dr Wimmer served as CEO of Synlab and founded the business in 1998. Mr Charrier served as CEO of Labco and was formerly CEO of beauty care product firm Oenobiol.

*Not all services are offered in all countries.