Hospital Bed Makers Settle Antitrust Suit
BATESVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ Hillenbrand Industries Inc. has agreed to pay a Texas company $250 million to settle accusations it tried to monopolize the market for specialty hospital beds.
Indiana-based Hillenbrand, the nation’s largest maker of caskets and hospital beds, and Kinetic Concepts Inc. of San Antonio announced the settlement after the close of business Tuesday.
A federal jury in San Antonio awarded $173.6 million to Kinetic Concepts in September. Under federal antitrust laws, the verdict could have been tripled.
Under the settlement, Hillenbrand would pay Kinetic Concepts $175 million when the case is dismissed and $75 million more a year later.
Neither side admitted any fault as part of the settlement.
``Though we continue to strongly believe our actions have been both legal and ethical, it is in the best interests of our shareholders to put this matter behind us,″ said Frederick Rockwood, president and chief executive of Hillenbrand Industries.
Kinetic Concepts makes beds, mattress systems and other devices to treat skin breakdown, circulatory problems and pulmonary complications in patients who cannot move on their own or suffer from chronic wounds. It charged that beginning in the early 1990s, Hillenbrand used its dominance in the regular hospital bed market to increase sales of specialty hospital beds.
Hillenbrand shares were priced at $48.31 at the end of trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The markets were closed for the New Year’s Day holiday on Wednesday.
On the Net:
Hillenbrand Industries: http://www.hillenbrand.com
Kinetic Concepts: http://www.kci1.com