Samsung ties up with U.S. medical equipment firm

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Samsung ties up with U.S. medical equipment firm

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it has joined hands with U.S. medical equipment company Thermo Fisher Scientific to cooperate on the diagnostics business and target the global medical equipment market.

The medical equipment business is one of five key future growth engines Samsung has targeted amid shrinking profits from smartphones.

According to Fitch Ratings, margins of Asian smartphone makers are likely to contract even more as competition continues to intensify.

Lower-cost smartphone producers will also challenge market-leading producers, Fitch said.

Samsung’s five future businesses are biosimilar medicines, medical equipment, LEDs, batteries for cars and solar panels.

Many ICT companies are targeting medical equipment and instruments as they become increasingly robotized.

Google and Facebook have been strengthening partnerships with foreign companies in the biomedical and medical equipment industries.

In the Samsung-Thermo Fisher Scientific partnership, the Korean company will be supplying devices that diagnose acute heart disease, metabolism and inflammatory diseases to the Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific, which has the world’s largest sales network in the medical equipment sector.

Samsung has diagnostics equipment such as Labgeo IB10, a portable system that performs various tests quickly and accurately in emergency situations.

It was recognized for its excellence in performance by Scotland’s National Health Service.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has 50 years of experience selling diagnostic instruments and laboratory equipment in 100 countries.

Samsung plans to expand sales of diagnostic devices and focus on development, utilizing the sales network and the service infrastructure of Thermo Fisher.

“Through this cooperation, Samsung is able to strengthen its diagnostic business as it establishes a base for future market expansion,” said Cho Soo-in, head of the medical equipment business division at Samsung Electronics.

“We will continue to develop medical instruments and equipment that consumers can use safely and conveniently.”

In July, Samsung Medison, Samsung Group’s medical equipment maker affiliate, also released the first premium ultrasound diagnostic equipment, the RS80A, in the United States under the Samsung brand.

Recently, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee met with Severin Schwan, the CEO of the global multinational pharmaceutical company Roche.

Lee is said to have met with Merck Sharp & Dohme’s Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier last year and this year.

For the medical equipment sector, Lee met with Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser in Germany in 2012 and in Korea last month.

Such moves led to speculation that Samsung Electronics’ medical device division could be merged with Samsung Medison in the upcoming restructuring of Samsung Group.

Samsung has said it will merge companies that have common businesses to create synergies.

Shares of Samsung Electronics hit the ceiling at the end of October when market analysts predicted that Samsung Electronics’ other medical equipment subsidiaries Nexus and Neurologica could be merged.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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