Torex PLC has announced a strategic alliance with IBA Health Ltd, the Australian supplier of healthcare information systems. As part of the £7 million deal Torex has also acquired the UK-based Hospital Information Systems operation of IBA and InHealth Solutions.

As part of the new alliance Torex is taking an 8% stake in IBA Ltd, a leading Australian supplier of e-health and hospital information systems. Torex’s chairman Chris Moore is to join the IBA Board.

The involvement with IBA offers scope for Torex involvement in the Asia Pacific markets.

One financial analyst told E-Health Insider that the deal could be read as Torex taking on its UK rival iSOFT in Australia – a key market outside the UK in which iSOFT has traditionally had a strong presence.

The deal follows Torex’s February 2003 deal to buy the laboratory, radiology, oncology, mental health and primary care operations of InHealth Solutions for £3.5 million in shares.

In the UK the deal strengthens Torex’s position in the hospital systems arena where it claims a market share of over 28%. IBA and InHealth’s customer base comprises 10 NHS Trusts, including EPR installations at South Manchester, and Kettering.

Chris Moore, Chairman of Torex, commented: “I am delighted to announce our partnership with IBA and the acquisition of IBA/InHealth Solutions’s hospital systems operations which further consolidates Torex’s position as market leader in the UK. In addition, we have secured the basis of a wider strategic alliance between Torex and IBA which allows us to extend our global reach and capability.”