Medical technology, or medtech, is poised to generate nearly $600 billion in sales by 2024, according to projections made by market research company EvaluateMedTech. And that means higher revenue is likely on the way for the biggest medtech companies.
Currently, the five largest companies in terms of global medtech sales are Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Siemens Healthineers (OTC:SMMNY), and Koninklijke Philips (NYSE:PHG). But are any of these big medtech stocks smart picks to buy now?
Medtronic's global medtech sales totaled $30 billion last year. That was enough for the company to capture 7.4% of the total market, according to EvaluateMedTech.
Wall Street projects that Medtronic's growth over the next five years will top its performance over the last five years as well as handily beat the industry average. This growth should be fueled by Medtronic's product pipeline, which CEO Omar Ishrak says is "stronger than at any time in our company's history." Acquisitions should help as well, including Medtronic's buyout, announced in September, of Israeli surgical robot maker Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ:MZOR).
2. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson isn't just a medtech company. It also operates major consumer healthcare and pharmaceuticals businesses. But J&J's medtech sales totaled $26.6 billion last year, ranking the company No. 2 in the world.
J&J's earnings growth could slow a little over the next few years as the positive year-over-year comparisons from major acquisitions subside. It's also important to note that the pharmaceuticals segment is the main source of the company's growth, but sales are slipping for top-selling drug Remicade as it faces biosimilar competition. Still, J&J's medical device segment could experience growth as it moves beyond divestitures of some of its businesses.
3. Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories leaped into the third spot on EvaluateMedTech's rankings thanks to its acquisition of St. Jude Medical. Abbott's medtech sales totaled $16 billion last year, giving the company a market share of around 4%.
CEO Miles White noted in Abbott's Q3 conference call that three areas are driving the company's medtech growth: electrophysiology, structural heart, and diabetes care. The fastest growth is being achieved in diabetes care, led by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system FreeStyle Libre. Wall Street expects healthy growth for Abbott over the next few years thanks in large part to the company's new products.
4. Siemens Healthineers
Siemens Healthineers is the healthcare strategic unit of big conglomerate Siemens AG. However, its stock trades separately from its parent company. Siemens Healthineers stands as the fourth-largest medtech company in the world, with sales last year of $15.5 billion.
EvaluateMedTech projects that Siemens Healthineers' medtech revenue will increase by a modest 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2024. While that growth should be enough for the company to hold on to its No. 4 ranking, Siemens Healthineers' market share is expected to slip from 3.8% last year to 3.4%.
5. Koninklijke Philips
Dutch consumer electronics and medical devices giant Koninklijke Philips landed in fifth place on EvaluateMedTech's list of the top medtech companies. Philips' 2017 medtech revenue totaled $13.6 billion.
The stock took a beating in November 2018 after Philips reported disappointing Q3 results. But the company's long-term prospects appear to be solid. However, EvaluateMedTech thinks that Philips will lose its top-five ranking despite growing medtech sales by a CAGR of 4.7% through 2024. That's because Becton Dickinson's acquisition of C.R. Bard will allow the company to leapfrog Philips to take the No. 5 position.
Are they buys?
None of these five medtech stocks are bad picks. All of them should generate decent total returns over the long run. But I do think that one of these stocks stands out as the top pick. That stock is Abbott Labs.
Abbott should be able to grow earnings by a double-digit percentage over the next few years. The company ranks first or second globally in nearly every arena in which it competes. And Abbott has increased its dividend in every quarter since 1924.
It's not surprising that EvaluateMedTech thinks that Abbott will increase its global market share to 4.5% over the next few years, the largest increase of any of the current top five companies. If you're looking to profit from growth in the medtech space, I think Abbott Labs is the best of the biggest medtech stocks.