Toshiba Medical rolls out South Korean subsidiary

Toshiba is diving full-force into South Korea with an eye on tapping into the country's soaring demand for medical imaging products. The Japanese conglomerate said it will buy most of a distribution company it jointly owns there and relaunch it in April as a subsidiary to its imaging division.

Toshiba Medical Systems isn't disclosing financial details. But the deal calls for it to snatch up 70% of TI Medical Systems stock held by Infinitt Healthcare, a South Korean company focused on picture archiving and communication system, or PACS, a type of medical imaging technology. Both companies launched the operation in 2009, and since then, Infinitt has distributed medical imaging equipment made by Toshiba.

As Toshiba explains in the deal announcement, the company wants to position itself to take advantage of a soaring medical imaging market in South Korea. Experts see a 10% annual growth rate in the coming years, higher than the expected average global rate. Toshiba Medical Systems' president and CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa also sees the move as boosting medical and research collaborations, considering Korea's close proximity to Japan.

Asia has become a major emerging market target for medical device, imaging and medical instrument companies seeking to expand. Varian Medical Systems ($VAR) launched its first Asian subsidiary there, to support the roll-out of its TrueBeam radiotherapy/radiosurgery system. Thermo Fisher is also expanding in South Korea.

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