DENVER—DaVita Inc. announced Aug. 29 the appointments of Atul Mathur and Björn Englund to lead two separate international expansion efforts.
DaVita’s initial expansion is planned for the European and Asia-Pacific regions.
"These appointments signal a sharp focus, and long-term commitment to international growth," said Kent Thiry, DaVita CEO and chairman of the board. "Developing global markets will play an important role in our long-term expansion strategy."
Mathur, a veteran operational and business development executive, will lead the Asia-Pacific region based in Singapore. Englund, who has more than 25 years experience in the European dialysis industry, will lead European efforts.
"Atul and Björn are proven leaders in identifying opportunities and expanding market share," said Dennis Kogod, chief operating officer, DaVita. "Their track record for management and growth, as well as their understanding of their respective regions, will advance DaVita's overseas growth."
Mathur was most recently a senior vice president of international strategy, business development and partnerships at The American Express Company. In that role he was responsible for business strategy, oversaw partnership opportunities and drove market share growth. Mathur will lead DaVita's Asia-Pacific expansion and brand recognition efforts.
Englund most recently served as vice president for the International Dialysis Center a division of Euromedic International. Prior to that he was in charge of the Budapest-based International Dialysis Centers where he drove double-digit growth of the company's operations, including expansion in Russia, Turkey, Poland and Croatia. Englund will build brand recognition and manage overall operational expansion on the European continent for DaVita.
DaVita first announced its international plans to expand during a Nov. 4, 2010, third-quarter investor conference call.
“We are pursuing launching dialysis operations in several countries outside the U.S.,” Thiry said during the investor call. “We believe the long-term upside opportunity dramatically outweighs the downside risk, and that international markets could be a long-term growth driver for our shareholders—long-term defined as the second half of this decade and beyond.”
“We realize that building an international business with attractive and sustainable returns will be challenging, will take time, and will expose us to new risk,” Thiry said during the call. “In addition, of course, it will require a sustained financial investment.”
Thiry listed the following factors that led to the decision to expand internationally: the market is large and appears to have reasonable margins, the market is growing more rapidly than the U.S. market, and there is significant market share remaining outstanding. In addition, privatization and government outsourcing trends are gaining momentum globally.
Estimates by medical market research publisher Kalorama have found that the $60.3-billion international dialysis market has experienced 5 percent to 6 percent growth per year in the past five years. In addition, Kalorama estimated that there are approximately 1.8 million dialysis patients worldwide.
“The dialysis products and services market is a highly fragmented market,” Kalorama wrote in a June 24 news release. “Global players account for only a fraction of the total market and the rest is occupied by the regional companies.”
Thiry said during the late 2010 call that the company couldn’t provide much insight into exact plans because DaVita is in the early stages of developing their international strategy. However, he said that general characteristics of possible places to expand include countries “that have enough scale, that have what appear to be attractive margins, that have nice growth characteristics, and are still fragmented in terms of ownership.”