Medtronic PLC’s profit jumped 14 percent and sales outpaced expectations in the quarter that just ended, but Chief Executive Omar Ishrak couldn’t stop talking about the medical device maker’s future.
“What I want to share with you today, that is even more exciting than our quarterly and year-to-date results, is the progress we are making in our pipeline, where we see more opportunities for growth both in near- and long-term than at any time in our company’s history,” Ishrak told investors in a call Tuesday morning.
After briefly honoring Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken, who died Oct. 21 at the age of 94, Ishrak highlighted some of Medtronic’s long-term growth prospects. They include a new robotic spine-surgery platform, a revamped version of the capsule-sized Micra pacemaker, and a next-generation automated insulin pump.
“Today Medtronic has leadership positions in most of the fastest-growing markets in med-tech. And we are intentionally allocating our capital to higher-growth markets and newer opportunities,” Ishrak said. “We are looking to go beyond simply improving and innovating on existing products and therapies. Our goal is to invent, and disrupt the market.”
Medtronic stock climbed nearly 2 percent Tuesday, closing at $92.16 a share as the broader market continued to fall.
Analysts with Leerink Partners were upbeat about Medtronic’s earnings announcement Tuesday, but they noted that Medtronic’s stock is still trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than its large med-tech peers, with a P/E ratio of about 17 compared to the broader med-tech benchmark of 22 to 23.
That indicates the stock price still has room to grow relative to its peers, depending on how well Medtronic manages operating margins, which beat expectations at 27.9 percent in the just-ended quarter.
“We do think with solid execution, [Medtronic’s P/E] multiple should move to be more in line with the group. But, we’re still early days in the operating margin expansion story, which has been a sticking point for us, keeping us from getting more constructive on the shares,” Leerink analysts wrote. “Ultimately, we believe MDT will have to drive more consistent operating margin expansion to drive a premium MedTech multiple.”
Analysts with CFRA Research said Tuesday that they have raised their 12-month stock-price target to $104, based on a goal of Medtronic hitting a P/E ratio of 19.3. “This multiple exceeds MDT’s five-year range of 14.7-to-19.1, because we are encouraged by MDT’s pipeline, newer products and investment in higher growth areas,” CFRA analyst Kevin Huang said in a note to investors.
The Ireland-based medical device maker, operated from offices in Fridley, reported $1.7 billion in adjusted net income on nearly $7.5 billion in revenue during its fiscal second quarter, which ended Oct. 26. Revenue was up 7 percent on a constant-currency basis.
Medtronic recorded $1.22 in adjusted diluted earnings per share, beating analysts’ expectations by 7 cents per share.
Some of the growth this quarter is due to the fact that Medtronic was still recovering from a series of natural disasters this time last year, including a major hurricane that took its critical factories in Puerto Rico offline temporarily and wildfires in California that affected operations there.
Ishrak acknowledged the “favorable” comparisons to the disastrous quarter last year, but he noted that “the underlying growth that we have seen in the past few quarters has continued into this quarter.”
The company’s performance during the first half of its fiscal year will allow it to absorb “incremental expenses” throughout the remainder of the year, including an increased impact from international currency fluctuations, expected impacts from China tariffs, and the pending Mazor Robotics acquisition.
During the just-ended quarter, the fastest-growing product group was diabetes-care therapies, up 27 percent to $589 million in the quarter on the strength of sales of its 670G insulin pump and its Guardian Connect glucose sensor, which can be used independent of the pump. Ishrak said revenue from sensors has eclipsed revenue from insulin-pumps during the quarter.
Meanwhile sales in Medtronic’s largest division, cardiac and vascular devices, grew 4 percent to $2.9 billion in the quarter on the strength of sales of minimally invasive aortic heart valves and the Resolute Onyx stent. Pacemakers also saw high single-digit percentage growth in the quarter, led by sales of existing versions of the minimally invasive Micra pacemaker.
Medtronic is maintaining its fiscal-year adjusted EPS guidance in a range of $5.10 to $5.15, implying 9 percent to 10 percent growth on a constant currency basis if recent exchange rates hold for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Medtronic executives raised their guidance for organic revenue growth to a range of 5 to 5.5 percent, which includes a negative international currency impact of between $420 million and $520 million.
“Our pipeline contains numerous growth opportunities and has never been stronger,” Ishrak said. “We know there is much work to be done, but we are up for the challenge, and I’m excited about these opportunities.”