Saturday, May 26, 2018

NuVasive Not Getting, Or Deserving, The Benefit Of The Doubt Yet

Investors remain reluctant to give NuVasive (NUVA) much benefit of the doubt, and based upon the company's recent performance, I can't say I blame them. Although I wrote back in January that I thought it would take time for the company to rebuild investor confidence, I'm still surprised to see the nearly 10% drop in the share price over that period, while Globus Medical (GMED) has shot up nearly 20% and K2M (KTWO) has risen close to 10%.

There are a lot of issues with NuVasive right now, including a fairly spotty history of earnings quality, worries about competitors poaching away reps, and signs that NuVasive's new products aren't producing the same growth leverage as before. What's more, as NuVasive has grown to become a bigger player in the spine market, it's harder and harder for the company to separate itself from the challenges in the market.

Valuation is tricky. On a cash flow basis, the expected return isn't as high as I'd like to see given the risks. On the other hand, med-tech doesn't often trade on cash flow and the shares do look undervalued, perhaps significantly so, on an EV/revenue basis. There's some appeal here as a turnaround story, but NuVasive will be granted little quarter or patience by the Street if results don't start meaningfully improving.

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NuVasive Not Getting, Or Deserving, The Benefit Of The Doubt Yet

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