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3i-backed Labco and Sodexo announce innovative new UK Pathology Joint Venture

Labco and Sodexo have formed a joint venture - Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) - to enable UK healthcare organisations to deliver cost effective pathology services.

This is the first time that a facilities management company and an independent professional pathology company have joined forces to enable NHS Trusts to outsource pathology services.

iPP brings together the skills of two leading global service providers: Labco, a major European clinical diagnostics company owned and run by an international network of pathologists, and Sodexo, a leading global provider of facilities management services to the healthcare market.

iPP aims to partner with UK healthcare organisations to deliver pathology services that are responsive to users, cost effective and support NHS national clinical programmes. To date, pathology services have been predominantly carried out by Trusts in-house given limited opportunity to outsource to  independent experts.

Geoff Searle, managing director for the new joint venture, iPP, said: “We believe this new joint venture addresses many of the issues raised in the Carter Review* concerning improvements to quality and patient safety and increased efficiency, and that iPP will help the NHS achieve its ambitious £500m savings target for pathology services in England.”

He added: “The combination of resources and clinical disciplines, which iPP draws from its two parent companies, equips us to be a strategic partner to the NHS and independent hospitals. We can assist healthcare providers and commissioners in meeting the challenges of quality, cost and rising demand in delivery of UK pathology services. Labco has excellent past performance in pathology in several major European healthcare markets and Sodexo has earned a key position in the NHS as a valued outsourcing partner.“

Simon Scrivens, managing director for Sodexo, said: “This is an exciting development for Sodexo. We have been successfully delivering a wide range of services to the healthcare market for many years and we are delighted to be working with Labco through iPP, which has expertise in this field, to move into this new area of service provision.”

Eric Souêtre, CEO of Labco said “Labco has unrivalled experience in Europe of managing pathology services through outsourcing models and has an excellent track record of successfully transferring its technical and medical knowledge to new healthcare markets: we are looking forward to helping our future UK clients improve their pathology services.”

Stuart Quin, Investment Manager at 3i, a leading international investor and backer of Labco added: "Today''s announcement underlines 3i''s strategy to partner with fast growing international healthcare businesses. The iPP joint venture will bring an innovative model of delivering pathology services across Europe to improve quality and drive efficiencies in the UK market."

Operating models will vary and IPP will offer a range of services and partnership options depending on each healthcare organisation’s needs.

Notes to editors

*The Carter Review of Pathology in 2008 made 20 recommendations covering eight broad topics. Carter estimated the pathology market was worth £2.5 billion a year to the health service alone. To date, the NHS has dominated the pathology market with the majority of clinical tests being performed either by the health service or on its behalf. The NHS has set itself a target of £500m in savings for pathology services in England.

Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) is dedicated to enabling UK healthcare organisations to strengthen the quality, delivery and cost-effectiveness of pathology services. The joint founders of our company are Labco, a major European clinical diagnostics company and Sodexo, a leading global provider of outsourced solutions for healthcare.

The combined clinical and outsourcing resources of iPP equip it to be a strategic partner to both the NHS and independent hospitals.

Sodexo is one of the world’s leading providers of onsite service solutions. The company has a major presence in the UK healthcare market with over 9,000 employees directly involved in the sector, of which 6,000 are working in NHS organisations across the UK having transferred from the NHS to Sodexo.

The services offered by Sodexo include a wide range of traditional hard and soft facilities management services such as catering, cleaning, portering and reception as well as decontamination, sterile services and clinical technology services.

Operating as a partner to the NHS as well as private healthcare providers for over twenty years, Sodexo currently delivers a wide range of services in almost 100 hospitals in the UK. It is also involved in a number of large and complex PFI schemes, both as a service provider and an equity partner. 
Sodexo in the UK and Ireland employs around 43,000 people and delivers on-site service solutions to clients at over 2,300 locations in the corporate, healthcare, education, leisure and defence sectors.

Labco is a leading medical diagnostics group that operates over 300 laboratories in six European countries, performing analyses for more than 10,000,000 patients a year from a range of over 2,500 clinical tests.

Labco has unrivalled experience, in multiple settings, of delivering diagnostics services, including pathology,  and performs over 250,000 tests each day. Such settings include community and academic hospitals (both public and private), inpatient, outpatient, general practitioners, health clinics etc. In addition, Labco has an excellent track record of successfully transferring its technical and medical knowledge to new healthcare markets.

In its outsourcing collaborations, Labco engages in very long-term relationships with its customers, and most of its contracts run for between seven and fifteen years. Many of these contracts have already been renewed by satisfied customers and to date Labco has yet to lose a customer. This 100% retention rate is testament to Labco’s commitment to offering world-class services and focus on patient, clinician and customer satisfaction.

Labco’s approach to business is based on scientific input in diagnostics. Labco’s European expansion relies on the operational independence of the pathologist, underpinned by efficient management. Labco’s commitment to meeting the highest national and international accreditation and certification standards is evidenced by its ongoing and substantial investment in company-wide quality programmes and innovation. Labco employs around 4,500 staff including 500 pathologists.

3i is an international investor focused on buyouts, growth capital andinfrastructure, investing in Europe, Asia and North America. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio, shareholders and fund investors.


For Sodexo:
Clare Collins / Piers Zangana
 +44 (0)20 7535 7400 /

For Labco:
Anne Souêtre,  +32 (0)2 627 85 91,

For 3i: 
Rachel Richards,  +44 20 7975 3573,

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