Clearwater advise Summit Medical on sale to The Riverside Company for £36 million


Graphite Capital, the leading UK mid-market private equity specialist, has sold Summit Medical to The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm. The vendors were advised by a team from Clearwater Corporate Finance in Birmingham, led by partner Andy Moore and director Gareth Iley.

Summit designs, produces and distributes world class medical devices and accessories primarily in the orthopaedic sector. Its products deliver clinical and economic advantages to individual patients and medical practitioners as well as private and public health services in the UK and in over 30 export markets, including the USA and continental Europe.

Graphite invested in the business in 2001, leading a £17 million management buy-in/buy-out. Since then, Summit has developed strongly in the UK and overseas, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. Profit and turnover have both more than doubled – the latter to over £16 million. Graphite has generated a return of more than three times the cost of its original investment.

Summit’s products include a full range of bone cement mixing systems for hip and knee replacements; hygienic disposable cubicle curtains; specialist orthopaedic implants; and a blood transfusion system which enables patients to have their own blood reinfused after major surgery. Over 80 per cent of acute hospitals in the UK use Summit’s products.

The management team, headed by chief executive Frank Collins, is reinvesting in the new vehicle established to acquire Summit.

Collins said: “Graphite has actively supported Summit’s growth strategy, enabling us to invest in developing the business and to complete two key acquisitions. They have been an excellent partner, positively contributing to the board’s strategic thinking. We have also developed our strong senior management team, which has driven the business forward into new product areas and geographic markets. We now look forward to working with Riverside to implement further our ambitious development plans in the UK and overseas.”

Andy Moore, who leads Clearwater’s healthcare team, added: “The healthcare sector continues to be active with both UK and overseas private equity houses seeking to find high quality assets, sheltered from the uncertainty of consumer markets. In Riverside, we found a buyer for Summit which has the geographical coverage and relationships to support Summit’s growth strategy in international markets and in seeking further acquisitions.”

Mark Hudson and Jenny Michelman managed the investment for Graphite. Graphite partner, Mark Hudson, commented: “The realisation of our investment in Summit Medical adds to Graphite’s extensive track record of backing successful growth businesses in the healthcare sector.

With our support, Summit completed two bolt-on acquisitions and achieved strong growth from major new product launches and by expanding export revenues. During the six years of our investment, Summit’s staff numbers have almost doubled. The company is in a strong position to grow further in the years ahead with its new financial partner.”