Lab equipment maker Thermo Fisher to buy Phadia diagnostics for $3.5 billion

NEW YORK ― Laboratory equipment company Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. agreed to acquire private-equity-owned Phadia, maker of allergy and autoimmune tests, for about $3.5 billion to expand in specialty diagnostics.

Thermo said Thursday that the deal to buy Sweden-based Phadia from European private equity firm Cinven would immediately add to earnings. The deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter and add 26 to 30 cents per share to 2012 earnings.

Thermo shares rose 3.6 percent to $65 in premarket trading.

“It’s a decent deal for them,” said Peter McDonald, an analyst at Auriga USA. “It fits well with their specialty diagnostics business, it leverages some of their infrastructure and it will probably do well.”

Phadia had 2010 sales of about $525 million, and has increased revenue by about 10 percent per year on average for the last three years on a constant currency basis.

Phadia specializes in in vitro allergy diagnostics and is a European leader in autoimmunity diagnostics, Thermo said.

“Thermo has very good distribution,” McDonald said. “They like to buy these products and pump them through their channels, so I think this is not a bad use of their cash. It’s expensive, but that’s what you have to pay to be in this space.”

Thermo intends to use proceeds from committed debt financing from Barclays Capital and cash on hand for the Phadia transaction.

Barclays is advising Thermo Fisher, while Goldman Sachs is acting as financial adviser to Phadia.