AGIC Capital snaps up medical laser maker, eyes China market

Julie Zhu and Elzio Barreto

(Refiles to clarify AGIC has a $1 billion fund)

HONG KONG, April 21 (Reuters) - AGIC Capital, which has a $1

billion Asian-European private equity fund, agreed on Friday to

buy Central European medical laser company Fotona from U.S.

investment firm The Gores Group, targeting growth in China and

other Asian countries.

AGIC, founded by veteran China dealmaker Henry Cai in 2015,

did not disclose financial details of the deal, though a person

with knowledge of the purchase pegged the value between $100

million and $250 million.

AGIC is betting its knowledge of China and other Asian

countries will help Fotona, which makes lasers for medical,

dental and aesthetic surgeries and treatments, deepen its

expansion in the region. The company has grown 30-50 percent

annually in China the past few years, outgrowing the market

average of 20 percent, said Sam Sun, AGIC's greater China head.

"The demand is really driven by a growing Chinese middle

class and their desire to treat themselves better and have

better care for their health and body," Sun told Reuters in an

interview on Friday.

Gores bought Fotona for a reported 18 million euros ($25

million) in 2014, when Slovenia's government sold a series of

state assets to revive the economy. http://reut.rs/2oXxJMy

AGIC's investment follows a similar move by Shanghai Fosun

Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, which acquired

Israel-based Alma Lasers Ltd, a maker of lasers used in cosmetic

surgery, for $240 million in 2013. http://reut.rs/2osIVQi

The global market for medical lasers is excepted to surge to

about $13 billion by 2022 from nearly $5 billion in 2015,

according to research firm Stratistics Market Research

Consulting. Over the forecast period, Asia Pacific will be the

fastest growing market because of rising disposable income and

increasing healthcare expenditure, particularly in China and

India.

These medical acquisitions also come amid Beijing's plan to

overhaul the country's underdeveloped healthcare sector and

raise the global competitiveness of domestic industry. In the

"Made in China 2015" blueprint, Beijing named high-end medical

devices and biopharmaceutical as pillar sectors, among others.

The takeover of Fotona is AGIC's third investment since its

establishment by Cai.

Last year, it joined a Chinese consortium led by state-owned

China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) to buy German

industrial machinery maker KraussMaffei for about $1 billion,

then the largest outbound investment from China into Germany. It

also snapped up a majority stake in Italian robotic firm Gimatic

for about 100 million euros. http://reut.rs/1OhBu6h

(Writing by Julie Zhu; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and David

Evans)