As Americans and others in the developed world age, their built-up wealth and need for health care make for fertile investment territory. So does it follow that a company ranking among industry tops in the $6 billion-a-year market for home medical products is a winner?
First, there is good news (that is, if you are not currently a shareholder). Invacare
Investing in Invacare over the last 20 years has been rewarding. It has outperformed the S&P 500 by 2.2 times. But what about the coming 20?
Invacare has the leading market position in powered, custom, and standard wheelchairs, as well as in beds, concentrators, and patient aids. It is also in a second-tier market position in medical supplies. And let's not forget that the company still has plenty of new territory to enter via acquisition if it so chooses.
So what tanked the stock?
In the first quarter, Invacare reaffirmed that it expected 17-19% revenue growth (6-8% organic growth) and earnings per share in the $2.60 to $2.80 a share range for the full year. Well, that was five weeks ago.
Today, the company is saying that the second quarter will be weak and that the full-year outlook is for sales to increase 14-15% (4-5% organic growth) and earnings per share to fall between $2.20 and $2.40 a share. Medicare, Medicaid, German reimbursement problems, and higher freight costs hurt earnings. Which, to an extent, explains investor concern. Governments' health-care facilities are placing increasing pressure on the scope and size of reimbursements to companies of this sort.
Long-term investors will notice that analysts expect Invacare to grow earnings 11% a year over the next five years, which is slightly higher than the S&P 500's expected 10.6% annual return. The company also has significant debt ($616 million next to free cash flow of $100 million last year). On paper, that doesn't bode well for the company's prospects on outperforming the S&P 500, at least for the immediately foreseeable future.
But a health-care megatrend is set to explode -- I mean, a lot of people are getting old, and they might need a few of the company's products. Provided the company can retain its current position, it's poised to take full advantage of demographic trends over the long term.
The ride down today is a big bump on a road that should ultimately lead to higher ground over time. While it will take a few quarters to see whether the company has properly gauged the impact of reimbursement problems, this market leader is approaching levels that will interest value investors.
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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article and hopes to be a baby boomer who does not require the megatrend's projected care needs. Click here to see The Motley Fool's ironclad disclosure policy.