Pa., Tenn. therapy chains set to merge

Benchmark Medical and Physiotherapy Associates to combine.

Benchmark Medical Inc., an outpatient physical-therapy chain based in Malvern, is merging with Physiotherapy Associates Inc., of Memphis, to form a company that will operate more than 800 clinics, employ 5,500 people, and generate revenue of $420 million, the companies' owners announced yesterday.

Bill Floyd, chief executive officer of Benchmark, will be CEO of the merged company, which will use the Physiotherapy Associates name.

Water Street Healthcare Partners, a Chicago private-equity firm, had recently acquired Physiotherapy for $150 million. Wind Point Partners, also a Chicago private-equity firm, formed Benchmark in 2000. The two equity firms will be the majority owners of the new company.

Financial terms of the deal between Benchmark and Physiotherapy were not disclosed.

Rick Binstein, Benchmark's executive vice president and general counsel, said the physical-therapy business remained largely unconsolidated. About 70 percent of clinics are owned and operated by the therapists who work in them. Benchmark's main selling point has been that it can free therapists from billing and other office functions and let them focus on patients, he said.

The company, which operates physical-therapy clinics and centers for people who need orthotics and prosthetic limbs, has grown by acquiring established physical-therapy practices and starting new ones.

The merger will give it the capital to expand, plus invest in systems and clinical improvements, Binstein said. Because Physiotherapy and Benchmark operate the bulk of their clinics in different states, the combination will also give them a better shot at national contracts.

Contact staff writer Stacey Burling at 215-854-4944 or