Varian Medical Systems Inc.: Ten Years and Counting

Medical device manufacturer celebrates a decade of growth and innovation

Varian Medical Systems Inc. traces its roots back to the late 1940s when brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian, invented a high-frequency amplifier for generating microwaves known as the klystron tube. The tube became a key component of modern medical technology, including the use of linear accelerators in radiation therapy.

The brothers eventually formed Varian Associates, a company that stood until April 2, 1999 when the semiconductor and scientific instruments business were was spun off from the medical division.

Born from the breakup was Varian Medical Systems, a company with annual revenue of $542 million in 1998. By 2008, the company nearly quadrupled its revenue to $2.1 billion and increased its profit from $8 million to $295 million.

Varian Medical Systems Inc.
At A Glance

Varian Medical Systems Inc.
Palo Alto, Calif.
Primary Industry: Machinery
Number of Employees: 4,800
2007 In Review
Revenue: $1.78 billion
Profit Margin: 13.48%
Sales Turnover: 1.06
Inventory Turnover: 4.92
Revenue Growth: 11.19%
Return On Assets: 15.84%
Return On Equity: 30.04%
For the fourth-consecutive year Varian Medical Systems' success earned the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company a spot as an IW 50 Best Manufacturer.

Some of the company's highlights over the decade include the introduction of its RapidArc radiotherapy technology, more than 50 new X-ray tubes and the development of large-scale high-energy X-ray scanners that can automatically detect dangerous materials hidden in cargo containers.

The company also has shown an ability to thrive during tough economic times. The medical-device industry is one the few businesses that has sustained growth during the recession.

Varian Medical Systems ended the first quarter of 2009 with revenue of $508.7 million, up nearly 13% from the year-earlier period. Profit increased to $68.8 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with $55.5 million, or 46 cents a share, during the first three months of 2008.

The company benefited from strong sales in its Oncology Systems and X-Ray Products business segments, said Tim Guertin, president and CEO, in a Jan. 29 statement. Revenue increased 11% to $398 million in the Oncology Systems unit, while revenue rose 23% to $86 million in the X-Ray Products division.Guertin expects continued growth for the remainder of 2009.

"Despite continuing turbulent financial times, we believe that fiscal year 2009 revenues could grow by about 10 to 13%," he said.

For the second quarter, Guertin said revenue could grow 9% to 10%.

Interested in information related to this topic? Subscribe to our weekly Leadership Insights From The IW 50 eNewsletter.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.