Rank: #15 (Last year: #14)
Prior Fiscal: $8.13 billion
Percentage Change: -2.8%
No. of Employees: 63,751
Global Headquarters: Melsungen, Germany
Anna Maria Braun LL.M., CEO, Chief Human Resources Officer; Director of Public Relations, Asia Pacific Region
Dr. Annette Beller, Head of Finance
Dr. Meinrad Lugan, Head of Hospital Care and Out Patient Market Divisions
Caroll H. Neubauer, LL.M., Chairman and CEO, B. Braun Medical Inc.; Head of North America Region
Dr. Joachim Schultz, Head of Aesculap Division
Markus Strotmann, Head of Avitum Division
Chuck DiNardo, President, Aesculap Inc.
After six generations, a woman is finally taking the reins. B. Braun has remained family-owned for 180 years, ever since 31-year-old Kassel pharmacist Julius Wilhelm Braun bought Rose Pharmacy in Melsungen, Germany, and began its transformation from a small herbal remedy shop into the global, multi-billion-dollar medical and pharmaceutical technology enterprise it is today. As each Braun generation handed the B. Braun legacy to its successors, the company continued to develop dynamically.
Last October, then-CEO Prof. Dr. Heinz-Walter Große announced his retirement after eight years behind the wheel and 40 years with the company. His successor: 39-year-old Asia-Pacific president and mother of three, Anna Maria Braun. Her father, Ludwig Georg Braun, had captained B. Braun for 34 years and is the head of the company’s supervisory board.
She is notably one of very few women in the German economy in such a lofty position. According to the German Institute for Economic Research, only seven of the 200 largest companies outside the financial sector in Germany—B. Braun included—are led by a woman. But rather than basking in the spotlight, Ms. Braun immediately took a practical approach to her leadership.
“I don’t think in terms of ‘special moments,’” she stated in a Q&A featured in the company’s 2018 annual report. “…we’ll be in the thick of the day’s business and focusing on the tasks ahead of us.” She also spoke about growth, new forms of collaboration, and team building.
Ms. Braun holds a Master of Law degree from Georgetown University and worked as a commercial lawyer in Düsseldorf, Germany, before joining the family business in 2009. She began leading B. Braun’s Malaysian subsidiary in 2013 and joined the Management Board as Asia-Pacific president in 2016.
Foreshadowing her promotion, perhaps, a nine-year Malaysian project was completed under Ms. Braun’s leadership last April. The company officially opened five new, enhanced production plants and other administrative buildings in Penang. These will produce medical devices across B. Braun’s portfolio, including devices for infusion therapy, pharmaceutical solutions, and surgical instruments. Penang also hosts B. Braun’s Asia Pacific regional headquarters; the B. Braun Global Centre of Excellence for Intravenous Access with over 100 engineers and full research and development capabilities; and the Aesculap Academy Skills Learning Centre, which provides continuous medical education and training to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in Malaysia and across the Asia Pacific region.
“B. Braun has truly grown with Malaysia for close to half a century,” Ms. Braun told the press at the time. “Our success is a result from the strong support from the government, industry, and most importantly, our 7,700 employees.”
Ms. Braun officially became CEO April 1—now with over eight times the number of employees under her purview.
“I’m looking forward to continuing B. Braun’s successful history,” Ms. Braun concluded in the Q&A. I won’t be doing it alone, but together with my colleagues on the Management Board and with every employee.”
Ms. Braun was handed somewhat of a mixed bag upon assuming B. Braun’s leadership. Though sales in euros increased 1.8 percent to 6.9 billion, unfavorable currency exchange rates brought about nearly a 3 percent drop in sales in the form of U.S. dollars ($8.13 billion). Africa, the Middle East, and Germany saw the most substantial sales boosts, with Europe overall proving to be strong. B. Braun mentions it had not seen effects of Brexit on performance as of the end of last year.
Hospital Care is B. Braun’s largest business, consisting of infusion equipment and supplies, infusion and injection solutions, intravenous catheters, products for clinical nutrition, and pumps and their associated systems for inpatient and outpatient care. The division regularly accounts for about half of the company’s sales. Its 3.13 billion euro proceeds were relatively flat (0.5 percent rise) compared to the previous year.
Unfavorable currency exchange rates most heavily impacted sales in the U.S., Russia, Brazil, and Argentina—although these areas saw growth in local currencies, sales in euros in some were below the previous year. Strong sales in Germany and the U.K. somewhat offset this. Solutions for clinical nutrition and automatic infusion pumps, as well as anesthesia products, were last year’s main growth drivers.
Last January B. Braun Medical Inc. introduced the Introcan Safety Deep Access IV Catheters. Meant to access deeper veins for difficult access patients with damaged or not visible or palpable superficial veins, the longer peripheral catheters facilitate IV procedures involving ultrasound guidance. They are made of polyurethane, come in four longer-length configurations, and their back-cut universal bevel both produces a precise tricuspid incision and allows a variety of insertion angles.
B. Braun won FDA clearance for the wireless second-generation software for its Perfusor Space Syringe Pump. The first syringe pump cleared with air and road transport in the indications use, the Perfusor Space 2nd Generation Syringe Pump integrates with all of the company’s integrated electronic medical record (EMR) technology. An integrated piston break prevents inadvertent dosage during a syringe change, and post-occlusion dosage reduction software minimizes dosage after occlusion. Each pump also contains a microprocessor to ensure independent modularity, preventing channel confusion and catastrophic pump failures. The pump launched during last October’s National Association of Neonatal Nurses conference.
Last October saw the introduction of Surecan Safety II Port Access Needles. Safety engineered to access IV ports, the non-coring port access needles can be used for power injections up to 325 psi. Surecan Safety II’s manually activated safety mechanism allows visual confirmation with a green dot visible through the clear bottom plate when successfully engaged, in addition to tactile confirmation. Ranging from 19 to 22 gauge in size, Surecan Safety II is inserted into the septum of a subcutaneously implanted port to infuse fluids and drugs, and sample blood.
The Aesculap division, which encompasses products for general surgery, orthopedic joint replacement, regenerative therapy, neurosurgery, laparoscopic surgery, interventional vascular diagnostics and treatment, degenerative spine disorders, and cardiothoracic surgery, garnered 1.82 billion euros last year, rising 2.1 percent from the year prior. China, Germany, Russia, Spain, Poland, and the U.S. were primarily responsible for the increase, offset by weaker performance in the Middle East, Malaysia, and Thailand. Strong angioplasty, endoscopy, suture product, high-speed power systems, and access ports sales were encouraging; however, Aesculap’s orthopedic achievements were subpar. Despite significantly increased sales volume, considerable market price drop for knee and hip replacements prevented growth.
Aesculap initiated a joint venture last January with Christoph Miethke, founder and CEO of Potsdam, Germany-based hydrocephalus treatment product developer Christoph Miethke GmbH & Co. KG. The venture aims to develop implants for targeted drug delivery, and the newly established B. Braun Miethke GmbH & Co. KG intends to bring its first product to market within the next few years.
Last February, Aesculap acquired surgical instrument maker Dextera Surgical for $17.3 million in a move to buy Dextera out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The deal saw Dextera receive $13.6 million, with $2 million going into two-year escrow, and $900,000 going toward repaying a loan from Aesculap. Dextera is a designer and manufacturer of surgical staplers and devices for coronary bypass graft surgery. Through the purchase, Aesculap expands its arsenal of beating heart coronary and video-assisted thoracic surgery. Among B. Braun’s new acquired technologies are Dextera’s MicroCutter 5/80 stapler, PAS-Port proximal anastomosis system, and C-Port distal anastomosis system. Aesculap will oversee operations in Dextera’s home of Redwood City, Calif.
B. Braun Interventional Systems and NuMED Inc. launched expanded size and newly indicated Cheathan-Platinum (CP) stents shortly following their FDA approval last May. The newly approved indication for the Covered and Covered Mounted CP stents allows treatment of right ventricle to pulmonary artery (right ventricular outflow tract, RVOT) conduit disruptions. These disruptions are identified during conduit pre-dilatation procedures performed in preparation for transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement. All sizes and configurations of the Covered CP Stent are now approved for the treatment of both coarctations of the aorta and RVOT conduit disruptions.
The Out Patient business—which houses infection prevention, diabetes care, continence care and urology, ostomy care, and wound management technologies, accrued 841 million euros in sales last year, rising 1.6 percent over the previous year. U.S. sales notably increased, and international sales were bolstered by proceeds from China, Great Britain, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. German sales remained flat, mainly due to weak wound care, continence care, and urology performance. Logistics issues in France and a production stoppage in Sligo, Ireland, also adversely impacted the Out Patient division’s growth.
Last April, colostomy management solutions firm Stimatix GI disclosed that B. Braun Medical SAS was the acquirer of its assets. The deal occurred in November 2014, but the purchase agreement at the time included a nondisclosure agreement preventing release. Since the Stimatix GI product launched in mid-2018, B. Braun authorized the disclosure. B. Braun both acquired Stimatix GI’s assets and agreed to sell the firm’s ostomy products. Stimatix GI’s Artificial Ostomy Sphincter helps to holistically restore the various physiological, behavioral, and aesthetic functions of a healthy anus and rectum in colostomy patients.
The Avitum division, which provides products and services for acute and chronic kidney failure patients, grew sales 4.9 percent to reach 1.1 million euros last year. Consumer product and dialysis machine revenues were strong, particularly in Germany, China, and the Philippines—tempered by weaker sales in Mexico and Great Britain. The company’s dialysis centers performed well worldwide, acquiring locations in Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand last year. B. Braun’s clinical network also expanded in Russia, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland last year.
B. Braun Medical Inc. began the deal to acquire NxStage Medical’s Medisystems Streamlines bloodlines business last July. According to an SEC filing, the sale was part of NxStage’s pursuit of Federal Trade Commission approval for its $2 billion acquisition by Fresenius Medical Care. As such, the acquisition was contingent on the closure of the Fresenius-NxStage deal. That closed in late February of this year, at which time B. Braun finalized the purchase. The spoils included Streamline Bloodline for the Dialog+ hemodialysis system, Streamline Bloodline for the Fresenius Medical Care hemodialysis system, and Streamline Bloodline Long for the Fresenius Medical Care hemodialysis system. The additions helped to fortify Avitum’s complete integrated line of dialysis products.
Last September, B. Braun opened Europe’s most modern dialyzer production site with a celebratory inauguration event in Wilsdruff, Germany. The firm invested over 100 million euros in the new production site and created about 140 jobs. B. Braun hopes to double its production capacity in Saxony with the new site.
“In Germany, currently around 100,000 patients are reliant on regular dialysis therapy. Dialysis is very strenuous for those affected, yet it is vital,” German Minister of Health Jens Spahn emphasized in his speech at the inauguration. “B. Braun is making an important contribution to high-quality medical care for people with chronic kidney failure. At the same time, today’s opening of the dialyzer production site is a clear commitment to the future of the industrial location of Saxony. With around 5.5 million employees, the healthcare economy in Germany is an important motor for the overall economy.”