Baxter International has acquired Swedish dialysis specialist Gambro in a deal worth $4 billion.

Privately-held Gambro is a medical technology company focused on developing, manufacturing and supplying dialysis products and therapies for patients with acute or chronic kidney disease.

Baxter said the deal gives it a comprehensive dialysis product portfolio, complements Baxter’s global home dialysis offerings, and positions the company to better meet the evolving needs of the large and growing dialysis market.

Around 20% of the firm’s $13.9 billion in sales came from its renal business last year – Baxter said the $4 billion deal will be paid for by a mix of cash assets and debt.

Robert Parkinson Junior, chairman and chief executive of Baxter, said: “Baxter has a legacy of innovation in dialysis, including the development of peritoneal dialysis for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease patients in the home. This acquisition further strengthens our global dialysis offerings by extending our portfolio in the haemodialysis segment.

“This transaction will provide attractive returns and enhance Baxter’s sales and earnings growth over the company’s current long-range financial plan.”

Some analysts have questioned the price of the acquisition, especially as Gambro’s sales have been largely flat in the past few years.

Michael Matson, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA, told Reuters: “I think the deal makes sense. I think it does fit well with their existing renal business and I think there probably are synergies, but at the same time it is a lot of cash they are paying for this thing. They are taking on a significant amount of debt.”

Gambro is a global provider of dialysis products and technologies used in haemodialysis (HD) and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), with sales of around $1.6 billion last year.

Its portfolio in the traditional chronic care segment consists of HD devices including advanced monitors, dialysers, bloodlines and dialysis solutions.

More than two million patients globally are on some form of dialysis, with dialysis treatment rates increasing more than 5% annually in part due to the rising rates of diabetes and hypertension.

Given these numbers, both firms believe that the deal can lead to long-term growth opportunities, and Baxter will look to increase product sales in established markets such as Europe, where Gambro has an extensive footprint.

And for Gambro, Baxter can also expand the company’s reach in high-growth regions of Latin America and Asia- Pacific, where the firm has steadily grown its peritoneal dialysis business.