KCI boosts Brazil operations

Kinetic Concepts, also known as KCI, is betting on Brazil for future growth as it pursues a major market expansion there.

The San Antonio-maker of wound care devices and other products said it will expand existing operations in Brazil with a focus on training experts to use KCI's V.A.C. system, which applies negative pressure wound therapy to patients. KCI isn't disclosing a lot of financial or investment details about what it has in mind. But the company said it create new jobs, in part through an expansion of sales and service operations to Rio de Janeiro, beyond its existing presence in São Paulo. Plans also call for some major networking, with anticipated participation in various wound care events and conferences around the country.

KCI said it has sold products in Brazil since 2006, using EFE Consultoria as its distributor.

It makes sense to focus on Brazil, which is traditionally lumped with China and India as among the largest and fastest-growing emerging markets, in terms of medical devices and diagnostics. Brazil and the others are investing substantial sums in improving their healthcare systems as their economies continue to modernize.

KCI, in turn, has very much been a company in transition. Last month the company announced it agreed to sell its therapeutic support systems unit (hospital beds, patient-mobility devices, etc.) to Getinge AB in Sweden for $275 million in cash, allowing it to focus more on wound-healing products. KCI has also pursued some layoffs and owner Apax Partners brought in a new chairman and CEO in January. Long-term, the focus has been on streamlining the company's operations to either make KCI more attractive to a buyer or to take it public again at some point.

- read the release