Based on the constituents of my recent articles on stocks at 52-week highs, it looks as though growth businesses are increasingly prized by investors. That’s no surprise, with earnings from traditional favourites like the banks, miners, and a certain supermarket all coming under threat.

Readers shouldn’t overlook the earnings generation capacity of some of Australia’s biggest healthcare businesses. With strong balance sheets, international diversification, and – at least in two cases – the ability to generate growth through innovation.

Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) – last traded at $19.60, yields 3.6%

Sonic is a pathology and diagnostic imaging operator which has been growing predominantly by acquisition in recent years, although it also enjoys tailwinds from growing demand for imaging services. Although Sonic is vulnerable to changes in regulation and fee schedules, its geographic diversification reduces the impact on the overall business. Future growth will come partly from acquisitions as well as steady organic growth from existing businesses – Sonic has previously been able to grow its revenues at above the market rate in Australia thanks to its strong brands.

Approximately 25% of sales come from laboratories in Australia, 22% from US labs, and 36% from labs in Europe. 9% of sales come from imaging services, and another 8% from Medical and Occupational Health services in Australia. Sonic reports in Australian dollars, meaning profits rise when the AUD falls. I would invest a hypothetical $2,000 into Sonic.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) – last traded at $105, yields 1.6%

Don’t let the $100 price tag put you off – CSL is a very high quality business. In fact, despite being a $48 billion company, it managed to grow earnings at 6% in constant-currency terms at its most recent half-yearly report. Factor in share buybacks, potential acquisitions, and ongoing high Research and Development (R&D) expenditure, and CSL is well placed to continue growing earnings.

Approximately 8% of sales come from Australia, 43% from the US, 12% from Germany, 5% from the UK, 3% from Switzerland, and 29% from ‘Rest of World’. Although CSL reports in US dollars its business is diversified and has plenty of room for growth in foreign markets. I would invest a hypothetical $4,000 into CSL.

Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) – last traded at $105, yields 2%

Audiologist Cochlear currently has less than 5% of the total global market of those with hearing loss, according to company estimates. Sales are growing in high-single digits across most geographical regions, and Cochlear is also experiencing growing recurring revenues thanks to servicing existing customer implants.

Approximately 46% of sales are made in the USA, 36% in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and 18% in the Asia-Pacific, including Australia and NZ.  Like Sonic, Cochlear also reports in Australian dollars, making it an excellent way to play falls in the value of our currency. I would invest a hypothetical $4,000 into Cochlear.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.