Why I bought shares in Sirtex Medical Limited last week

Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) saw its share price slammed down 7% last week, after the healthcare company reported that sales growth was going to be slower than previously expected.

We covered the announcement in detail here.

But that was an opportunity for many investors to pick up shares in a very high-quality Australian healthcare company at a cheaper price, and I managed to buy in on the day to top up my holding.

Interestingly, the last time Sirtex saw its share price plunge was also the day I picked up my first allocation of shares. Back in March 2015, Sirtex’s share price more than halved to a low of $15 after it announced disappointing clinical trial results.

However, at the time, the trial results did not justify the fall in Sirtex’s share price, and most sellers appeared to have misunderstood the company they were invested in. You see, Sirtex is not a startup biotech company with an unapproved product and no revenues. Sirtex already has a highly profitable product in SIR-Spheres which are used as a last-stage treatment for liver cancer. As a result, the share price recovered and 9 months later was trading above $41.

The fall in the Sirtex share price last week was due to sales growth of around 16% – rather than the recent five-year average of 19.7%. Had any company predicted they were going to grow at 10% and then amended their guidance to around 16%, the share price would have soared. But investors are expecting a lot from Sirtex, and have assigned the company a high price and P/E multiple based on those expectations.

The problems causing the slower-than-expected growth appear to be mostly temporary, and those should be overcome in time. In fact, looking back at Sirtex’s quarterly and half-year sales growth history, growth is anything but consistent from the three regions (Americas, APAC and EMEA) it divides its global sales into.

Sirtex quarterly revenue growth Jun 2016

Source: Company reports

If anyone can find a pattern or trend in that chart good luck.

The simple truth is that Sirtex has been growing dose sales and revenues for many years, and will likely continue doing so for many more. The fact that growth will be at ~16% instead of 19.7% this year is hardly a cause for serious concern. In 10-15 years, I doubt many investors will even remember this event.

Sirtex semiannual does sales Jun 2016

Source: Company reports

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Sirtex Medical. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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.

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