Acquisition of a hematology business in U.S.A

12. August 1999

The Kyoto based HORIBA Ltd., whose president is Atsushi Horiba, acquired the hematology business unit, from BioChem Immunosystems Inc., a subsidiary of BioChem Pharma Inc. The purchase included the manufacturing and sales rights of blood cell counters, reagents, blood controls, accessories and service maintenance. The California based ABX Diagnostics, Inc., subsidiary of ABX S.A. (Montpellier, France) affiliated to HORIBA Ltd., will take over the business and promote replacement sales of ABX products. The objective is to reach a twenty percent market share of the U.S. of the hematology field in three years.

The Medical Diagnostic Instruments & Systems division of the HORIBA Group mainly relies on ABX S.A. which develops, manufactures and distributes the medical electronics products world-wide. ABX Diagnostics, Inc. was incorporated in the US in 1997. Being close to the customer to ensure quick service maintenance and supply reagents is vital in the medical business. Consequently, an office and a factory which are fully equipped for service maintenance and customer technical and training support was built this May. The acquisition also enabled ABX to establish an East Coast warehousing and shipping center to provide faster and more economical shipments of reagents to local customers.

BioChem Immunosystems Inc. ranks fourth in the U.S. desk top type blood cell counter business. BioChem Immunosystems Inc. currently employs one hundred and thirty people worldwide and has a portfolio of three thousand customers. This time, the HORIBA Group did not purchase a legal entity, but only the hematology portion of the assets including intellectual property. This includes manufacturing and sales rights of blood cell counters, reagents, controls, accessories and service maintenance. The contract was concluded between ABX Diagnostics, Inc. and BioChem Immunosystems Inc. on July 6th, 1999. Although the purchase price was not disclosed, the gross investment including future investments amounted to 1.5 billion yens.

About thirty five employees (mainly field service engineers, sales and production personnel) will be transferred to ABX Diagnostics Inc., where they will continue to ensure the service maintenance, sales and production of reagents and spare parts. In addition, ABX Diagnostics Inc. will manufacture and supply their own reagents using the equipment of BioChem Immunosystems Inc. In the business of medical electronic products, service maintenance and a constant supply of reagents are essential to build customer satisfaction and promote replacement sales into ABX products.

The HORIBA Group already has a stronghold in Europe and Asia (including Japan) in hematology business and this acquisition will enable the group to penetrate the U.S. market, where it hopes to reach a twenty percent market share within the next three years.