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What: Medical supplies company ICU Medical (Nasdaq: ICUI) finds its shares up 12% today after the company reported stellar fourth-quarter results after the bell last night.

So what: ICU Medical blew past analyst expectations in the fourth quarter with a $0.72-per-share profit on $75.6 million in revenue versus consensus estimates of $0.53 on revenue of $70.8 million. ICU Medical attributed much of the jump in earnings to a 460-basis-point increase in its year-over-year gross margins and a favorable product mix. The company forecasts fiscal 2011 revenues and profits will be slightly higher than current analyst expectations.

Now what: All around this was a stellar quarter and another great year for ICU Medical. The key to its success is its gross margins and its push into international markets. Unlike larger rivals Becton, Dickinson (NYSE: BDX) and Baxter International (NYSE: BAX), the company is not regularly followed by many Wall Street analysts, but as I've highlighted before, it pays to keep an eye on these smaller players whose growth and cash-rich balance sheets can ride under the radar. I continue to see the company as a long-term winner and today's results further strengthen that viewpoint.

Interested in more info on ICU Medical? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

Fool contributor Sean Williams does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong.

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