These turnaround ideas are tricky business. Picking a bottom point in the stock can be like catching falling knives or playing chicken with a freight train -- a painful experience no matter what analogy you use. Yet here I am, still sniffing around Cooper
Cooper is one of the players in the contact lens business, battling it out with Bausch & Lomb
While numbers this quarter are a bit of a jumble because of reported versus constant currency numbers and the impact of various "one-time" items, you can still get a fair grasp of the overall direction of things. And that direction is down. Sales were down as reported and sales in the core vision business fell on both a reported and constant-currency basis. Likewise, whether you use reported or adjusted numbers for operating margin, this quarter was still worse than last year's.
So why do I think Cooper might be a turnaround? Mostly because I don't think its missteps are terminal to the franchise. The company will also be rolling out many new products in the next year or so, including silicon hydrogel products that should help it reclaim business lost to rivals that got those products on the market first.
What's more, though I don't buy stocks on hopes of a buyout (or at least I don't publicly admit to it), I'm not above using that idea as something of a fallback. And in this case, Alcon
As is almost always the case with turnarounds, this is an idea with above-average risk, so don't make the mistake of underestimating the odds that things could get even worse. New product launches can fail, product performance issues can pop up (as they did with Bausch & Lomb), and various other problems can send the stock lower. Then again, if it all works out, this may end up being one of the few relatively cheap medical-device ideas out there.
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