Sex still sells for Ansell

While death and taxes are the only two certainties most people will come to a true consensus on, Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN) would surely argue for adding ‘sex’ to the list. The medical glove and condom maker announced today a lift in sales of its Sexual Wellness business unit, which accounts for 18% of total revenue, despite overall company sales being down for the year. Ansell attributed the growth to higher sales in emerging markets, in particular highlighting all four ‘BRIC’ countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) as areas with double-digit year-on-year growth.

Total sales in Australian dollars were down for the year, while up slightly in USD (the currency which the company is managed in), reflecting the appreciation in the Aussie dollar. Interestingly, sales of Ansell’s medical division were also down — sales of the company’s latex rubber gloves dropped 38% and were only partially made up for by an increase in the synthetic alternative. In its Annual General Meeting, Ansell CEO Magnus Nicolin highlighted the negative impact of Europe’s economic woes on sales across the board, but maintained an outlook of moderate growth.

Other medical-related companies don’t seem to be fairing as badly. Pathology and medical centre operator Primary Health Care Limited (ASX: PRY) increased revenue by 5.3% for the year, while respiratory support manufacturer Resmed (ASX: RMD) earlier this year reported a 9% increase in revenues. Resmed too is exposed to the temperaments of Europe, but still managed to grow sales 3% in the region, mostly across Germany and the UK.

Foolish takeaway

Despite the current impact on sales through Europe, Ansell intends to continue looking for acquisition opportunities in the medium term to support growth as it has recently done with the purchase of the French glove producer Commasec SAS. In the meantime, Ansell’s sales appear well diversified, capitalising on demand for its products from emerging markets and keeping the world ‘loved up’, if slightly less ‘gloved up’.

If you only invest in one company this year, make it our “Top Stock for 2012-13”. Operating in two hot markets — one set to double by 2012, the other predicted to grow 5x over the next five years — this stock is a solid growth play that also boasts strong recurring revenue, zero debt, and lots of cash. Get its name and full research case in this brand-new FREE report.

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Motley Fool writer Regan Pearson does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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