Medtronic's Ishrak eyes China 'value products' market

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak

Medtronic ($MDT), known mostly for its high-priced medical devices, is looking for some deals in China as it chases low-price customers for its line of "value products."

CEO Omar Ishrak says those deals should be focused on community hospitals in China's smaller cities that need lower priced equipment to serve their lower income patients.

High on the company's idea of deals are acquisitions of China's makers of medical devices, Ishrak said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

He eyes tie-ups with makers of less-than-premium devices such as cardiac and spinal implants, pacemakers and surgical implements. Ishrak would not say whether he was discussing a deal with any of the China companies that fit his specifications.

The chief of the large Dublin-based company acknowledged it was tough and often risky to do business in China, but said that for Medtronic, the benefits outweigh the risks. He added he was set on increasing the firm's footprint in China, calling his decision not debatable.

The emerging markets already have proved successful for Medtronic by providing sales growing at an annual rate of 12%.

Ishrak was not satisfied, though. He said he wants to push that rate up to 15% by taking advantage of a device market expected to become the world's third-largest, worth $18 billion within three years. Germany holds that spot now, behind the United States and Japan.

- here's the story from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)