Based in Columbus, Indiana, Blairex Laboratories (“Blairex” or the “Company”) is a manufacturer and marketer of a portfolio of Over-the-Counter (“OTC”) consumer healthcare brands. The Company was founded in 1976 by Anthony Moravec as a contract manufacturer of OTC and specialty pharmaceutical products. Under the leadership of the Moravec family, including Tony’s son and son-in-law, Blairex has been a pioneer in the development of OTC applications and delivery systems for non-medicated sterile saline solutions. The Company has successfully commercialized a number of products, marketed today under the Simply Saline®brand (“Simply Saline®” or the “Brand”), which leveraged its captive manufacturing expertise and trade relationships. In addition to Simply Saline®, the Company’s portfolio of OTC products also includes several acquired brands such as Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, Zilactin, and Sleepinal among others.
“We engaged Sawaya Partners at this critical juncture for our family for one simple reason: their track record. We were convinced that their understanding of the OTC market and their singular credibility with all the relevant buyers would help us maximize the value of the Simply Saline brand. We were right. The team’s guidance during an accelerated due diligence effort and counsel at crucial turning points were key to realizing our objectives in the transaction.”
ANTHONY MORAVEC CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BLAIREX
Blairex’s relationship with Sawaya Partners goes back several years. During that time, a strategic dialogue developed as the Company evaluated several potential acquisition candidates that were being represented by Sawaya Partners. Recognizing Sawaya Partners’ leadership in advising companies in the OTC sector, its extensive track-record of representing family-owned businesses, and its intimate familiarity with strategic and financial buyers in the space, the Moravecs called on Sawaya Partners, without a formal ‘beauty contest’, to handle the divestiture of their largest brand, Simply Saline®, late in 2009.
Simply Saline® is a highly attractive brand and represented a compelling investment opportunity. The Brand includes the following three product lines: (i) a sterile saline nasal mist designed to moisturize nasal passages, help clear congestion and allergens, and to relieve the symptoms of a cold (“Nasal Care”), (ii) a first-aid wound care product designed for cleansing bacteria and debris at the site of a wound (“Wound Care”), and (iii) a contact lens rinsing solution designed to prevent burning and stinging of eyes (“Eye Care”). Simply Saline® Nasal Care, which represents approximately 70% of the Brand’s total sales, is the #1 retail brand in the high-growth nasal saline moisturizing category. In the last five years, the category has grown over 10% per year, the beneficiary of consumer’s migration to natural and drug-free products.
Since its launch in 2001, the Brand has outpaced the growth of the category and successfully differentiated itself from other branded and private label offerings through innovative delivery systems, high value-added line extensions and effective consumer and professional marketing. These efforts have led to superior consumption growth for Simply Saline®. Over the past five years (through year-end 2009), retail dollar sales have grown at a CAGR of 22.4%, twice the rate of the moisturizing category and nearly three times the rate of private label.
Over this same time frame, the Brand’s market share has increased from 13% in 2004 to 22% in 2009. The Company has been particularly successful with new, larger package sizes; tailored products for allergy and cold sufferers; and its line of children’s and baby products.
Prior to the transaction, Kaz was the U.S. market leader in digital thermometers, and with the addition of Braun Thermoscan, it became the worldwide thermometer leader