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The 10 Best Performing Medtech Companies of Early 2016

Out of 91 of the world's largest medical device companies, these 10 have had the best stock performance so far this year.

Chris Newmarker

One company, Teleflex Inc., is figuring out how to run super-lean in the present cost-conscious healthcare environment. Another, Stryker, is on an acquisition spree, while Edwards Lifesciences appears to have truly hit pay dirt when it comes to its TAVR technology.

There are strikingly different stories among the medical device companies with the best stock performance during the first three months of 2016. (Download Qmed's full spreadsheet of the 91 stocks, and read about the worst-performing companies.)

Here are the 10 medtech companies with the best performing stocks, as of March 31:

1. Teleflex Inc.: +19.45%

The Wayne, PA-based maker of critical care and surgery devices managed to grow profits from continuing operations by 19.8%, to $4.91 per share, in 2015. Sales were down 1.6%, but would have been up 5.4% if not from the currency headwinds from the strong U.S. dollar. The earnings news on February 25 sent Teleflex's stock up about 8%, to $142.99 per share. Teleflex is now trading at about $157 per share.

To further juice profits amid healthcare industry cost pressures, Teleflex in February also announced a two-year consolidation plan that involves workforce reductions, relocation of manufacturing locations, and relocation and outsourcing of certain distribution locations. For example, Teleflex recently announced that it would close its 360-worker facility near Reading, PA, according to the Associated Press. About 170 of the jobs are going to facilities in Mexico and the Czech Republic; another 60 are going to Morrisville, NC, and corporate headquarters; and 130 R&D and quality control workers will be moved to a new technical center near the present operation.

Teleflex estimates that revenues will increase 3% to 4% in 2016, 5% to 6% excluding currency impacts. And adjusted diluted earnings per share are expected to grow 10.6% to 13%.

2. Stryker Corp.: + 16.53%

Stryker so far this year has been an enthusiastic acquirer of new technologies, announcing at least $4 billion-worth in M&A deals. Deals include $1.28 billion to acquire Physio-Control International (Redmond, WA), a maker and manufacturer of monitors/defibrillators, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR-assist devices. Stryker is also spending $2.775 billion to buy Cary, IL-based Sage Products, which manufactures a host of products meant to prevent so-called "never events" in ICUs and hospitals.

Executives at Stryker appear excited to put the ortho device giant's balance sheet to work on acquisitions. Lobo recently described Stryker's growth strategy as being based on a diversified sales footprint bolstered by "healthy R&D investment and a focus and disciplined M&A effort."

Stryker is also embracing 3-D printing. The company is in the process of building a 3-D printing manufacturing facility in Cork, Ireland.

3. Cantel Medical Corp.: 14.84%

Cantel Medical (Little Falls, NJ) enjoyed "stellar" second-quarter results, according to Zacks Equity Research. For the quarter ended January 31, Cantel earned $15.4 million, or 37 cents per share, off $158.3 million in sales--up from $11.1, or 27 cents per share, in profits made off $135.4 million in sales during the same quarter a year before.

Sales growth was driven by Cantel's endoscopy business. Cantel expects to reap even more sales in the endoscopy business through its $79.5 million acquisition of Medical Innovations Group Holdings Limited, a U.K.-based provider of endoscope storage and transport systems in the U.K. and internationally.

4. The Cooper Cos. Inc.: +14.69%

The Pleasanton, CA-based specialty medical device maker increased its revenue 1% year-over-year, to $449.6 million, during its first-quarter ended January 31. It would have been up 5% if not for currency headwinds. Sales were driven by increased market share for Cooper's Biofinity contact lenses and its 1-Day silicone hydrogel products, the company announced on March 3.

Cooper Cos. also upped its revenue and earnings guidance for the full fiscal year. 

5. Edwards Lifesciences Corp.+ 11.69%

Edwards would be at the top of this list if it had received some good news before March 31, versus after. The Irvine, CA-based heart valve specialist's stock ended Monday up by nearly 33% for the year, surging 16.80% in a single day to $105.03, marking a new high. The company's stock first surpassed the $80 range in late November.

The latest surge for Edwards came amid new patient trial results that showed that transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) with the Edwards' Sapien 3 valve was superior at one year to surgery among patients at intermediate risk for open-heart surgery. The results could pave the way for TAVR being used on a much wider patient population, since the Sapien 3 presently only has FDA approval for treatment of high-risk patients with severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis.

The Next 5 Companies on the List

  • Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp.: +10.79%
  • Ambu A/S: +10.74%
  • 3M Co.: +10.59%
  • Align Technology Inc.: + 10.39%
  • Intuitive Surgical Inc.: +10.05%

(Download Qmed's full spreadsheet of the 91 stocks, and read about the worst-performing companies.)

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M East, June 14-15, 2016 in New York City.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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