Tuttnauer, a closely held maker of sterilization equipment used in medicine and the life sciences, is being acquired by the Israeli private equity fund Fortissimo for $100 million, the two sides said on Sunday.
The acquisition, which is expected to be completed in the next several weeks after antitrust and other approvals, is likely to presage an era of big growth for the company, which has a strong brand name but a weak marketing and distribution network overseas.
Fortissimo, whose fourth fund has $470 million under management and is headed Yuval Cohen, has a strong record for building and taking companies public. Among its successes in the past were SodsStream, the publicly traded maker of fizzy-drink machines, and Kornit Digital, a publicly traded maker of textile-printing equipment.
Based in Beit Shemesh, half way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the company was formed in 1960 but traces its roots to the laboratories of The Hebrew University where the first devices were made in 1925. It went public in 1993 but delisted in 2009 when the Tuttnauer family bought it back from shareholders at a $46 million valuation.
The company makes autoclaves and plasma sterilizers and is a provider of washer disinfectors and other infection control products. Its sales in recent years have been in the range of $80 million to $85 million, but with 90% of its products going for export profitability hinges on the shekel-dollar exchange rate.
Fortissimo is expected to open new markets in the Far East for Tuttnauer, which today exports about 40-45% of its products to the United States and another 30% to Europe. The fund is also expected to improve its marketing and distribution network and widen its product line.
Tuttnauer’s two biggest competitors are the Swedish company Getinge Group, which has a market capitalization of $4.9 billion, and Steris of the U.S., which trades at a $6.9 billion valuation.