I know that a certain segment of readers think I hate Medtronic
Whether that's the case or not, this med-tech giant reported another solid fiscal first quarter. Total sales rose 15% in the period to nearly $2.7 billion. Growth was driven primarily by strong ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) and spinal segment sales; those two businesses accounted for about 80% of this quarter's growth.
While Medtronic saw higher product and operating expenses in the quarter, margins remained intact. Investors should note that I'm excluding the more than $360 million of purchased in-process R&D charges the company booked in this quarter. Leaving these charges aside, the company saw 16% earnings growth for the period.
The market for ICDs is just flat-out hot, and Medtronic continues to reap the benefits. The company has actually managed to grow faster than the overall market (which the company believes grew about 26% in the quarter), and it's gaining share. Given the pace of sales growth at smaller rival St. Jude
Although cardiac rhythm management (pacemakers and ICDs) still makes up nearly half of Medtronic's revenue, management has worked hard to broaden the business. Its neurostimulation and spinal divisions have competitors, but these markets are growing nicely; Medtronic has built legitimate and profitable businesses here. I think that the Medtronic management may be a little optimistic on the future success of the Endeavor drug-coated stent, but I won't dismiss the idea that it'll take some business from Johnson & Johnson
I'm not going to play the role of broken record here and warn again of the dangers of paying too much for these shares. Medtronic is a powerful force in the medical device industry, and I don't see anyone with a realistic chance of knocking it off its pedestal. The stock is trading more or less at par to the market with respect to its P/E-to-growth ratio. I'll leave investors to decide for themselves whether that's a fair price to pay.
For more Foolish takes on the med-tech world:
- A Greatbatch of High Energy
- ANSI's Got the Juice
- Zimmer at a Simmer
- Waiting for Boston Scientific's Second Act