Editor's note: This article has been corrected. UnitedHealth's proposed acquisition of EMIS has not been completed and EMIS does not offer lab services.
The health of family and friends may be the No. 1 priority for many people. For others, it may be the health of the planet. But at some point down the road, if not already, these paths will likely cross. Keeping the planet safer could mean extending the life expectancy of both.
Two companies working toward making sure health remains at an optimal level for people and the planet are UnitedHealth Group (UNH 0.27%), and Northland Power (NPIFF -1.40%). But does that translate into a benefit for investors?
UnitedHealth is seemingly unstoppable
It was this past January when I last wrote about all that UnitedHealth has to offer long-term investors. At the time, the stock was up 142% over five years -- and since January, it has gone up another 11%. Shame on any investor, including me, who has not yet embraced this juggernaut of healthcare stocks. So, is it still a good time to buy this unstoppable healthcare stock?
If you like successful companies that play a leadership role in their field, and provide services and products reaching all ages in a market projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.4% through 2026, then I guess you might like UnitedHealth.
It also doesn't hurt that an investment in UnitedHealth also offers passive income. UnitedHealth can't boast being a Dividend King or Aristocrat, but it has raised its annual dividend for 12 consecutive years. The company also announced on June 9 a 13.8% increase to its annual dividend, to $1.65 per share, which should be embraced by long-term investors as a sign of things to come, and a way to increase gains through passive income. Perhaps not so coincidentally the stock price has grown by 1,400% over that same 12-year span. That sums up the history.
But the good news doesn't end there as the the company expects to continue that growth. In the second quarter, investors had even more reason to celebrate: The company's earnings jumped 18.5% on revenue that grew 13%, supported by its Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and domestic commercial memberships growing by a combined 280,000 new members. The addition of new members means new revenue potential.
The company is increasing its emphasis on value-based care, which allows patients to pay based on the success rate -- or outcome -- of the services provided rather than on a fee-for-service basis.
The company should also see growth through its acquisitions, helping it expand more in mental health treatment and in markets out of the U.S. In the U.K., for example, it plans to acquire EMIS, a health technology company.
Northland has the wind at its back
While UnitedHealth is providing services and benefits that aim to extend the lives of people, Northland is literally using the wind at its back to provide renewable energy that can save consumers money while also saving the planet. This producer of renewable power develops, builds, owns, and operates projects utilizing clean fuel, solar, and wind energy to produce electricity in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
The company has been supporting renewable energy for 30 years, and is a top 10 producer in electricity as a result of its onshore and offshore projects. It uses a growth strategy that includes mergers and acquisitions in order to expand, as well as a targeted approach to expansion in high growth markets, including Spain, Eastern Europe, the Northeast U.S., and Colombia.
In all of these markets the company has secured contracts and power purchase agreements that vary from 12 to 20 years, providing predictable cash flow and long-term revenue.
Northland is coming off a second quarter that produced earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $335 million, a 65% increase over the same period last year. That was driven by success from its Spain portfolio. This led to the company revising its full-year guidance for EBITDA by 8%, with CFO Pauline Alimchandani stating that based on current market and forward prices in Europe, Northland's financial results for 2022 could realize significant upside should prices rise.
According to Grand View Research, the global wind power market was valued at $100 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 6.5% through the end of the decade. The report includes Northland as one of the 12 key wind energy companies. Northland believes that rate could be upwards of 10% per year.
Investors have bought into Northland's success, driving the stock price up by 100% over the past five years, to $34 -- just short of its all-time high of $36 reached last year. And if analyst price targets are any indication, there may be room for another 15% growth over the next 12 months.