) -- China, China, China. Health care, health care, health care. That's all you hear about these days. Doesn't anyone have a unique
? I do:
Chinese health care.
Mindray Medical International
is a Shenzhen, China-based medical-device maker. The
leads the Chinese markets for hematology and biochemistry analyzers, and black-and-white ultrasound systems, based on revenue and units sold.
Mindray has boosted earnings per share for 10 straight quarters. In the second quarter, profit rose 37% to $33 million, or 29 cents a share. The company boasts a one-year growth rate of 53% for revenue and 30% for earnings.
The company's shares have surged 83% this year, making it the 11th-best performing stock in the
New York Stock Exchange Healthcare Index
, whose 109 members are up 13%.
The advantage of China-based research-and-development is evident in the company's operating performance. Mindray's quarterly gross margin rose to 57% in the second quarter from 52% a year earlier, helped by its low labor, material and facility costs.
Mindray's operating and net margins also compare favorably to those of U.S. rivals
. Its 10% revenue growth for the second quarter also puts it ahead of American competitors.
The company has an impressive financial position, evident in its quick ratio of 1.4 and debt-to-equity ratio of 0.3. It has $221 million of cash and $175 million of debt, which should reassure risk-averse investors.
Valuation is a concern. The stock trades at 31 times earnings for the past year and 6.4 times book value, a hefty premium to the market and medical-equipment makers. The company's 0.6% dividend yield is less than the average for the
S&P 500 Index
Nevertheless, strong sales growth and stock gains put Mindray Medical on our "buy" list. While the company has benefitted from increased development in China, sales to other countries still account for more than half of its quarterly revenue.
-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.
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