When we see an opportunity, we jump in with both feet.
Symmetry Medical designs, develops and manufactures implants, instruments and cases for orthopedic device manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson, Stryker, Zimmer and Smith & Nephew. Olympus was initially attracted to Symmetry because baby boomers were getting older and their active lifestyles were driving greater need for knee and hip replacements.
When we acquired Symmetry, they focused on instruments and cases for orthopedic surgeons. About two years later, we saw the opportunity to acquire Mettis, a manufacturer of implant components for the same orthopedic OEMs. Olympus envisioned this acquisition would enable Symmetry to integrate with customers earlier in the product development process and offer a more complete solution. This combination would help their customers get high margin products to market more quickly and make Symmetry a more strategic supplier. Mettis also gave the company a large international presence.
To fund the Mettis acquisition, Olympus committed nearly 150% more than its initial investment, increasing our total investment in the combined entity to almost 20% of our fund.
Customers quickly took advantage of Symmetry’s complete outsourced solution, and the company grew its operating profits by 57% in that first year. This growth was not achieved through layoffs or cost cutting, but revenue growth. Olympus took Symmetry public in 2004 (NYSE: SMA), and we ultimately quadrupled our initial investment.