Teleflex: A Medical Stock to Buy as Global Consumers Age

Rudy Martin

The sport of kings, horse-racing, won’t celebrate another Triple-Crown winner again until next spring.

However, if you’re looking for a thoroughbred to bet on in the meantime — one that can pay off for you all year long, and with much-more consistency — the stock market is still the best place for your cash.

Although there’s a big difference between putting a few dollars on a horse with a pedigree and allocating a portion of your nest egg to a stock with its own history of performing, the race-horse set can teach us a valuable lesson …

When you think of all the horses that qualify for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, consider that their handlers own or train many more thoroughbreds than you’ll ever see at these elite events. In other words, only the single-best in the stable get picked to run in the big-buck events.

That brings to mind a company that recently oversaw a “stable” of businesses … and then narrowed it down to the best of the lot to compete and even thrive in today’s competitive economic environment.

An investment in this stock could pay off better than a day at the race track. Best of all, you don’t need to break out your fancy hat to watch this one as it gains momentum on its way to the finish line!

The medical field continues to find new ways to help people look younger, but no one has figured out how to make us younger. And so, the population all over the globe continues to age … and demand for surgeries and services to help us live longer continues to surge.

The Medical Instruments & Supplies segment will benefit from the global aging trends. And medical-device-maker Teleflex Inc. (TFX) is one of those beneficiaries.

Just a few years ago, you could accurately define Teleflex as a diversified goods manufacturer for the aerospace, marine and medical industries.

However, during the past few years, the company has shed two of those specialties and channeled its resources into becoming a top global player in the third … a move that’s already starting to pay off … and could pay even-bigger as the world population gets older.

TFX: From Workhorse to Racehorse

Teleflex has taken note of the promising demographics and economics of the medical segment of the economy. To take advantage of it, the company jettisoned its air cargo system equipment division as well as its recreational boating products line.

And now, the Limerick, Pa.-based firm has repositioned itself as a global player to be reckoned with in the medical-devices industry.

Considering that it’s now a $79 stock and climbing, TFX is looking like a force to be reckoned with in the markets as well …

Teleflex has made some smart acquisitions over the past couple of years. Now it makes technologies designed to reduce the total cost of medical procedures, with a focus on improving the safety of patients and providers.

And just where is it finding these customers? You may be surprised to learn …

Where TFX is Making its Money

Teleflex is a leading global provider of specialty medical devices for a range of procedures in critical care and surgery in hospitals and doctor’s offices around the world.

Although the company is based in the United States, 49% of its revenue originates outside our borders. Teleflex has research, production and marketing operations spread across Europe, Asia, Mexico and Canada.

And if you consider the demographics of many developed nations — the United States and Japan being prime examples, where aging populations require more medical services — it is hard to quarrel with the direction the firm has chosen …

But it’s the developing nations that can sustain this business for decades to come.

“We are making targeted geographic investments, especially in markets such as China and Brazil, where the emerging middle class is increasing utilization of healthcare,” Benson F. Smith, TFX’s chairman, president and CEO recently told shareholders.

How Those Investments are Paying Off

During the company’s transition to a purely medical equipment business, revenue growth slowed slightly from a gain of 6.8% in 2011 to 4% ($1.55 billion) in fiscal 2012. These are still solid numbers, and its outlook is even-better for this year.

For fiscal 2013, the company expects revenue growth ranging from 11% to 13% and adjusted diluted earnings-per-share of $4.70 to $4.90. Analysts expect the company to report revenue of $1.73 billion and earnings-per-share of $4.83 for fiscal 2013.

TFX’s shares have more than doubled in the past four years from less than $40 in early 2009 to a recent peak of $87.46 — up 22.6% from their 2012 close. (Just for full disclosure, TFX is an active recommendation in my Global Trend Trader service.)

Here’s one quick "fun fact" about Teleflex …

Despite its name, it is neither a telecommunications firm nor a provider of flexible infotech solutions.

In the medical equipment business since 1981, TFX was born in 1943 to produce adjustable cable that expanded telescopically and was flexible for use in World War II Spitfire fighter planes.

The “telescopic” and “flexible” characteristics of its original product were combined into the name Teleflex, which has prevailed through the years and during the many evolutions in this promising firm’s focus.

But don’t let its name throw you off track; this is a supplier to an essential industry that is well on its way to winning a race that doesn’t offer much competition.

As always, if you’re doing this on your own, be careful and do your research before you make any moves. But if you’re intriguied by this sector that stands to get healthier as time goes on, TFX could be one of the stocks that adds life to it for many years to come.

Best wishes,