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LIFE Continues Korean Expansion

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In an attempt to expand its global footprint, Life Technologies Corporation (LIFE - Free Report) , recently acquired a South Korea-based distributor, Life Science Korea (LSK). As per LIFE, the acquisition, which is in line with the company’s 'go direct' strategy in South Korea, will be accretive as the region is a major international market for the company. Earlier in April, as a part of this strategy, LIFE acquired KDR Biotech Co., a reagents distributor based in Seoul, Korea.

Since 1994, LSK has been the primary instrument distributor of the company in Asia-Pacific and particularly in Japan. Apart from Life Technologies’ products, it also has the distribution rights for the products of Applied Biosystems, including the next-generation sequencing instruments, Sanger sequencing systems, forensics and PCR products.

Life Technologies believes that its association with LSK and KDR will prove to be successful, as together, the companies can offer a channel to serve the versatile and growing demand of the South Korean customers. Notably, the acquisition of KDR Biotech remains in line with Life's Asia-Pacific Japan strategy to further develop customer relationships, improve the customer experience and increase revenues in the fast-growing South Korean biotechnology market. This is in addition to Life's overall strategy of expanding its footprint into the rapidly growing and emerging markets.

As a result of Life’s increasing focus on emerging markets, at the end of 2012, this region accounted for more than 10% of total sales. While the company had derived revenues worth $188 million in 2007 from this region, the figure is expected to shoot up to $1.6 billion in 2015, representing a CAGR of 30%.

In the last two quarters, Life Technologies experienced stronger growth in the emerging markets. In Mar 2013, China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) approved the company’s Applied Biosystems 3500xL Dx Genetic Analyzer for clinical diagnostic use in China. Moreover, the company launched 10 Assays from its joint venture with Daan Gene.

The development has been considered as a major extension of Life Technologies' capabilities to serve the clinical end market in China with Sanger-based solutions.  With the company’s investment in this region covering multiple fronts, including expansion of operational capabilities, China continues to be one of the growth markets for Life Technologies. After recording a temporary slowdown in the Greater China business about a year ago, Life Technologies augmented its dealer model and supplemented it with its own sales force. Through these efforts, the company has successfully restored operations in Greater China to normal levels with high-teens growth.

Life currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While the upsides are already factored into Life’s shares, we are more positive about other medical stocks such as Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN - Free Report) , Natus Medical Inc. (BABY - Free Report) and Haemonetics Corporation (HAE - Free Report) . These stocks carry a favorable Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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