Sunquest Information Systems, which supplies order communications and other lab messaging software to GPs and NHS trusts, has been bought by a US conglomerate.

Roper Industries, which supplies systems for “global niche markets” including the water and energy industries, will pay $1.4 billion for Sunquest, which is also a strong player in the US hospital laboratory market.

In a statement on its website, Roper says it expects the acquisition to be “immediately cash accretive” to the tune of $140m in the coming year.

Sunquest has been owned by a group of equity investors since a recapitalisation in 2010. The company bought Anglia Healthcare Systems in 2008.

Anglia developed the ICE, an order requesting and communications tool that can interact with a wide range of third-party patient administration systems, laboratory information systems and radiology information systems.

Sunquest ICE now offers products in two main categories – ICE Labcomm, which delivers messages to GP practices and hospital departmental systems, and ICE Desktop, which is a management system for handling patient demographic data and hosting ICE applications.

Sunquest is the dominant player in the market for sending GP requests to laboratories.

In the acute sector, the EHI Intelligence NHS Trust Database shows that 68 trusts in England use ICE, with the vast majority (60) using it for order communications and smaller numbers using it for diagnostic reporting (35) for pathology (12) and for generating discharge letters (14).

Brian Jellison, Roper’s chairman, president and chief executive, said in a statement that Sunquest was the “market leader” in laboratory systems.

“We expect Sunquest to benefit in all economic environments from very favourable market forces – an aging population, expansion of anatomic pathology and the need for reduced healthcare costs and improved quality of care,” he said.

Sunquest will continue under its existing name, and using its existing brand names. Richard Atkin, its president and chief executive said customers would continue to get “the same excellent service and support, with full continuity of personnel.”

However, he said the acquisition would give the company the ability to invest and to expand into new areas.