Varian Medical chooses South Korea for overseas subsidiary

Varian Medical Systems ($VAR) will build its first Asian subsidiary in South Korea, the company disclosed this week.

The maker of cancer-treating radiotherapy devices and imaging equipment says the new base--to be known as Varian Medical Systems Korea--will support the launch of its TrueBeam radiotherapy/radiosurgery system in the country. Additionally, the subsidiary will help back up Varian's successful penetration into the South Korean market. Plans also call for using the facility for training and as a resource for HDX, a Seoul-based distributor of Varian products.

On one level, the move is simply a practical extension of Varian's presence in South Korea. The company notes, for example, that its radiotherapy treatment machines have been enormously successful penetrating the country's market (over 100 linear accelerators installed in South Korea). So having a local subsidiary to support and grow that business makes sense. But the move is also yet another validation of why Asia has become a vital place for device/diagnostic/imaging companies in which to do business. (Varian also recently contracted with a hospital in central Vietnam.)

The news comes as Varian gears up for a major change at the top. Long-time president and CEO Timothy Guertin is retiring. He'll be replaced at the end of September by Dow Wilson, a veteran General Electric executive who currently serves as Varian's chief operating officer. The company also recently inked a deal with Siemens Healthcare ($SI) allowing both to globally market each other's diagnostic and therapeutic products, plus related services.

- read the release