A private equity firm has offered to buy medical products company BSN Medical from current owners Smith & Nephew and Beiersdorf for 1.03 billion euros ($1.2bn).

BSN Medical is a joint venture between medical device maker S&N and Beiersdorf, which is best known for its Nivea range of skin creams. It supplies orthopaedic products such as bandages and splint systems, as well as items used in wound care and taking blood.

The company is being bought by Montagu Private Equity, which also bought pharmaceutical packaging specialist Risdon Pharma before selling it on to packaging giant Rexam in June 2003.

Under the terms of the agreement, S&N will receive around 495 million euros from the sale. Analysts said the price Montagu is paying for BSN Medical - which had 2004 sales of around 504 million euros - is a little higher than expected.

S&N will be able to use the funds to strengthen its fast-growing orthopaedics franchise through another bolt-on acquisition and/or by increased R&D investment, they said, adding that the cash could also be used to offset debts at the company.