Tunstall Americas has a new president/CEO (updated)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”175″ /]Updated Softly, softly. Rumors of a change at the top of Tunstall Americas were confirmed by the appearance in late May of Oscar Meyer as president/CEO on the leadership page of their website. This Editor was tipped earlier that Casey Pittock’s name had disappeared from the page at some point prior to mid-May. Inquiries at that time to their UK press contact were not returned. As of June 6, there is still is no formal press release announcing the change on PRWeb, their usual release site, or posted on the website.

The leadership page gives the barest bones of Mr. Meyer’s background: most recently North America Commercial Operations team for Invacare Corporation, a DME company primarily in the long-term care market, with most of his career at J&J. His LinkedIn page also adds in an adjunct professorship at Xavier University, a brief VP stint at Gambro (acquired by Baxter 2013) and Snow Creations, LLC, giving his location as Ohio. Tunstall Healthcare Group CEO Gordon Sutherland also is a veteran of Invacare (as head of EMEA) and Gambro.

Our Readers will recall the sudden change at Tunstall Americas three years ago when Mr. Pittock was ‘unveiled’ at the Medical Alert Monitoring Association meeting by then Tunstall Group CEO Paul Stobart, replacing Bradley Waugh [TTA 14 Mar 14]. Mr. Pittock was still listed on the Tunstall Group website as CEO North America through May 26, but as of this writing (June 6) the leadership roster has been updated with Mr. Meyer’s picture and brief bio. 

This Editor hopes that Mr. Meyer makes headway in the complex and crowded US PERS and safety market. Tunstall acquired in 2011 one of the most successful PERS/monitoring businesses here, AMAC, but failed to build substantially on their established business. One of the last appearances of Mr. Pittock in the press was in February for the Ripple Network Technologies personal safety device, where Tunstall Americas was providing the 24/7 emergency monitoring [TTA 1 Feb]. A great idea, but by March 3, Ripple had canceled its Kickstarter fundraising and their last Twitter post was March 21, indicating the company has gone dark or out of business. It is another example of how difficult it is to make headway here in the Americas. Is it acquire another company–or go home?

Breaking news report: Charterhouse evaluating £700 m sale of Tunstall Healthcare (UPDATED)

Breaking News

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Reuters reports as an exclusive that its sources indicate that UK private equity firm Charterhouse is considering a sale of Tunstall Healthcare Group for a possible valuation of £700 m ($1.1 bn) or more. According to this report, Charterhouse is working with JP Morgan on an exploration for a Tunstall sale in late 2015 or 2016. All three companies declined to comment.

Today, Tunstall also announced their Connected Healthcare 2020 strategy with a £100 m investment over the next five years, which we reported only a few hours ago.

Tunstall has gone through multiple hands in the past ten years. Charterhouse bought Tunstall Group in 2008 for £514m from Bridgepoint Capital, which acquired it from Hg Capital in 2005 for £225 m.

An exit for Charterhouse has long been rumored in UK healthcare circles. In the dark before the Christmas 2014 holiday, Tunstall reported disappointing results for 2014 (close 30 Sept): a YOY £6 m drop in revenue and a £9.7 m drop in EBITDA.  [TTA 24 Dec 14] According to CompanyCheck, which posts financial reports for UK companies, Tunstall Group’s net worth as of that date exceeded a negative £1 bn–a steadily declining position since 2010, though with stronger cash and reduced liabilities (see Accounts page).

We’ll post updates as they’re available.

Update 25 June with some quotes from a Tunstall spokesperson from their ‘hometown paper’, the Yorkshire Post.

Tunstall invests £100 m in ‘Connected Healthcare 2020’ strategy

Tunstall Healthcare Group in UK outlined today their five-year public, global strategic vision, along with a fresh investment of £100 million during this timeframe (~£20 m per year) to transition their connected care systems over to IP and cloud technology. The initiative, dubbed Connected Healthcare 2020, is centered on:

  1. Leading the switch to IP infrastructure–transitioning away from analogue (analog) services and devices to connected digital and mobile (cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
  2. Extending managed services–offering a wide variety of services end-to-end including full outsourcing
  3. Developing new consumer propositions through innovation–tapping into demand, often private pay, for high quality home care not provided by carers (caregivers)
  4. Developing new models of care in the home through integration–coordination of social care and healthcare

The Yorkshire Post article also points out, through their separate comments with CEO Paul Stobart, that prospective markets include developing nations with aging populations such as Mexico, South Korea and Turkey. Tunstall claims market leadership in UK, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Australia, as well as fourth position in the US. The TECS (technology enabled care services) initiative will create about a dozen jobs per year at the Whitley HQ, adding to their present 650 there and their total globally of 3,500. Tunstall release

We wonder if in the US we will see more of Tunstall at events like the mHealth Summit. Tunstall Americas has a refreshed website and communications as ‘The voice of connected health’, is more strongly promoting their call/contact services and its HQ location in New York City. We’ve previously noted their recent home care acquisitions and partnership with QMedic.

Tunstall Americas finds a Mountain Home

Gold in dem der hills? Tunstall Americas, Tunstall Healthcare Group’s US subsidiary, on Monday announced the acquisition of Mountain Home Medical, a Denver, Colorado-based telehealth provider of medical alarm and medication manager systems for the home market. In its announcement, Tunstall Americas gave the reason as “The acquisition demonstrates Tunstall’s commitment to expand its service footprint across the United States through acquiring or partnering with highly regarded regional, state, and local providers… ” Mountain Home is certainly the latter with business only in the state’s 53 counties, serving Medicaid eligible and private pay customers. Industry estimates put their subscriber base at under 5,000 customers.

A change in US strategy? Unlike Tunstall in the UK and Europe, the Americas subsidiary has maintained a low profile since the 2011 acquisition of AMAC, which at time of sale (more…)

Tunstall Healthcare asks lenders for covenant extension

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”175″ /]Breaking News. A report in S&P Capital IQ LCD (McGraw-Hill Financial) published Thursday (subscription required), states that Tunstall Healthcare Group has asked its lenders to extend for one year the step-down provisions in its loan covenants, from this December to December 2015. ‘Step-down’ is the process whereby a company begins to de-leverage over time by reducing the ratio of debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization–EBITDA) and thereby add value to the company for its lenders.  Responses are due by mid-November.

The extension request indicates that the decline in UK and US revenues evident in our July report on their FY 2013 results continue, as do the perils of leveraged debt. (more…)

Tunstall secures additional £20 million from Charterhouse: implications?

Breaking News  Tunstall Healthcare Group quietly announced on 25 September an additional investment of £20 million from its private equity owner, Charterhouse Capital Partners. Our readers know from our May and July articles the business challenges Tunstall has faced. We have particularly focused on–as have Bloomberg in May, this Editor and our Founder/EIC Emeritus Steve Hards over the years–on the heavy burden of Tunstall’s debt service, multiple management changes on both sides of the Atlantic, and a decided ‘failure to launch’ in the US market.

Readers of the Sunday Times woke up to this headline and lede (what news writers use to introduce the topic and entice you to read on):

Headline: £20m to steady ship at Tunstall

Lede: CHARTERHOUSE Capital Partners, one of the City’s oldest and most secretive private equity firms, has been forced to provide a multimillion-pound lifeline to another of its investments. A fortnight ago, Charterhouse ploughed £20m into Tunstall, a healthcare technology company that makes equipment to monitor the elderly and sick at home.

Insider Media Limited (business news review) had a more measured take in its ‘Yorkshire News’ section:

Headline: BACKERS PUMP £20M INTO HEALTHCARE FIRM (more…)

Tunstall’s 2013 fiscal report: debt service makes short term gloomier

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Updated…Released on this ‘getaway day’ (in the US), and surprisingly only covered by the local Yorkshire Post, is the report of Tunstall Healthcare Group’s year-end closing (30 Sept 2013) results. The short term news is positive: 21 percent revenue growth to £221 million in its 2013 statutory accounts. However, this adds in the acquisition of Spanish monitoring provider Televida for £27.4m in January 2013 and the 2012 purchases of AMAC in the US and STT Condigi in Sweden. The official posture of the company, expressed by CEO Paul Stobart, is that “with continuing Government austerity measures and a fragile global economy, the business does face challenges in the short term.” And one of those challenges making for a gloomy picture is debt service. We’ll let the YP speak: “The group, which is owned by private equity house Charterhouse Capital Partners (CCP) paid £13.7m of interest in cash on its senior and mezzanine debt of £265m, as well as a total of £114.4m non-cash interest on long-dated shareholder loan notes and other loans. This results in a statutory reported loss for the group of £127.8m.” That change of nearly £350 million, which includes operating costs and other expenses, illustrates the critical consequences of debt service on the bottom line, indeed [TTA 22 May]. Many thanks to one of our reliable sources for picking up this report.

New: Founder Steve reminds us of his related (and oh, so prescient) analysis from 2010 about Tunstall’s earnings versus debt service balancing act in Telecare Soapbox: Equity capital. A cautionary tale. (Thank you Steve for adding)

It is worth a detailed read because the 2009 numbers were also ‘challenging’. Steve dug through 2009 publicly filed (in UK) numbers to reach his conclusions. In sum, “The important question is whether their underlying position is sound and reliable, or whether they are shaky. They also tell me that the robustness of a company’s cashflow is the most important survival factor.”  If I am reading the report on CompanyCheck correctly, the eye-watering negative net worth of the Group and the low cash positions of both the Group and UK are oddly reminiscent of airline financial statements when this Editor was still in that business. Do remember the object examples of Texas Air Corporation (once the world’s largest airline holding company), Pan Am and TWA!  You also have to have some sympathy for the management which was not part of getting into this ‘pickle’ now tasked with getting the company out of the barrel.

Tunstall Americas’ change at the top

BREAKING NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Casey Pittock has been appointed the new President and CEO of Tunstall Americas, replacing Bradley Waugh. No official announcement yet by Tunstall, but there is a video on YouTube (below) from the Medical Alert Monitoring Association conference this past Wednesday (12 March) with Tunstall Healthcare Group CEO Paul Stobart (himself only about 100 days on the job–TTA’s exclusive in November) introducing his “three days in the job” Tunstall Americas CEO (at 03:41 to end). Mr. Pittock’s LinkedIn profile also reflects his new company and title.

Mr. Pittock’s prior positions were generally with smaller, entrepreneurial companies. He was previously VP Sales and Marketing with BAM Labs, developer of a ‘smart bed’ monitor partnering with Stanley Healthcare, acting President of BlueLibris digital health trackers (sold to Numera Health) and President-CEO of once-promising fall detector/alert Wellcore which formally closed down last year. He was a founder of alert company TelCARE, sold to Lifeline (now Philips Lifeline). Mr. Waugh had been President and CEO of NaviNet at the time of its purchase and joined Tunstall shortly thereafter in September 2012–a 19 month tenure. The Tunstall Americas leadership team webpage has not been changed as of Monday 17 March, 23:20 US-EDT. Tunstall is still officially headquartered in NYC (Long Island City), but while Mr. Waugh was from the Rhode Island area (and moved many Tunstall operations there), Mr. Pittock’s LinkedIn profile locates him in a posh section of Silicon Valley in California. It will be interesting to see if there’s also a HQ move in store for Tunstall.

[This video is no longer available on this site but may be findable via an internet search]