Microsulis to raise $15 million privately prior to IPO

Microsulis plans to raise $15 million in a private placement before listing in the US or in Switzerland.
Microsulis, a UK-based medical devices company that does most of its business in Asia, plans to raise $15 million in a private equity placement before applying to sell shares in an initial public offering in the US or Switzerland in 2001.

The company, which has developed an innovative technology that uses microwave energy to destroy tissue inside the body, has spent the five years since its inception completing clinical trials and registering the technology around the world.

Now it's rolling out its first commercial product – a system that treats a condition known as menorrhagia, or excessive menstrual bleeding, by destroying the lining of the womb. Some 18 million women a year are affected each year in the developed world alone, according to the World Health Organization. Microsulis expects its technology to be used in 600,000 treatments a year, at an average cost of $400 each, by 2004. It expects to make an annual gross profit of about $200 million.

So far the technology has been approved for use in Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands, but is still working its way through clinical trials in the US and Japan. The company plans to use the $15 million it hopes to raise in the private placement to help finance the build-out of its system and its marketing plan.

Microsulis doesn't yet know how much it will try raise in its IPO, but says the purpose of a listing is mainly to provide a means for existing investors to realize a profit. Initial investors include Hans Michael Jebsen, chairman of private Hong Kong conglomerate Jebsen & Co., Tomoko Miyokawa, a former member of Japan's Ministry of Finance, and David Warner, an entrepreneur currently living in Spain, who owns 85% of the company.

Stephen Barnes, chief executive of Microsulis Asia, says the company is currently entertaining underwriting proposals from several investment banks, including UBS Warburg, ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse First Boston and Merrill Lynch. It plans to make a decision early next year. Analysts at the banks value the company at about $350 million, Barnes says.

Microsulis says it expects its technology to be used in other applications. It is currently working to develop procedures to help treat liver cancer, endometriosis - a uterine condition that can cause infertility -  female sterilization and stress incontinence.

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