|Is This the Cheapest Stock Ever?|
By Rich Smith | More Articles
October 8, 2010 | Comments (0)
Recently, a poster over on the discussion boards run by our good friends at Yahoo! posed the question: Is AngioDynamics (Nasdaq: ANGO) the "most undervalued medtech stock ever"?
Since the company featured prominently in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week, the question piqued my interest. And since AngioDynamics reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings last night, now seems as good a time as any to search for an answer.
What is AngioDynamics?
The company mostly manufactures catheters, needles, and similar items for use in heart and vascular surgery. But AngioDynamics also has a potential game-changer in the form of its NanoKnife -- a technology designed to zap cancer tumors with electricity.
The NanoKnife, and controversy over the product's use, dominated Monday's WSJ article. In a nutshell, insurers like Blue Cross cite insufficient "scientific evidence of effectiveness in improving health outcomes" as an excuse for not reimbursing NanoKnife treatments. On the other side of the debate, the device's inventor boasts of its "phenomenal" success rate. In between are the doctors and hospitals, whose opinions range all over the place.
Yet judging from yesterday's report, the consensus may be swinging in the NanoKnife's favor. Since its introduction, only 322 patients have undergone NanoKnife treatment. But 92 of these patients were treated over just the past three months, up from 76 in the previous quarter. That 20% sequential growth is fast enough to lend credence to suggestions that AngioDynamics could be a takeover target for slower growers like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) or Covidien (NYSE: COV).
That's not to say that AngioDynamics looks all that bad on its lonesome. Over the past 12 months, AngioDynamics generated $35.8 million in free cash flow, which gives the stock a FCF multiple around 10.
True, sales growth overall was slow in the most recent quarter, with management blaming the same "procedure volume slowdown" that has had Wall Street analysts warning against the risks of investing in pricey medical-equipment stocks such as Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG) and Zimmer (NYSE: ZMH). Baxter (NYSE: BAX) and Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) are cheaper ways to play the space. But if analysts are right about the longer-term growth trends, AngioDynamics could indeed be a bargain.