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CSL Limited shares could be a great buy today

Global specialty biotherapeutics company CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) is one of the best companies on the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) for a long-term investment in my opinion.

Thanks to its market-leading position and high levels of innovation, CSL has managed to grow its bottom line by a compound annual growth rate of almost 22% in the last 10 years.

As you would imagine, those holding its shares during this time have been thoroughly rewarded.

Those that invested $50,000 in CSL back in 2006 would have seen their investment grow to be worth approximately $370,000 today due to its average annual total shareholder return of 22.1% in the last 10 years.

So far this year things are looking just as promising for the company and its shareholders. Its interim results revealed that sales increased by 9% to US$2,996 million and earnings before interest and tax increased by 8% to US$952 million for the half year.

During the period the company successfully closed its acquisition of the Norvartis influenza vaccines business. CSL has combined it with its bioCSL business to form a new subsidiary by the name of Seqirus. In doing so it created the world’s second-largest influenza vaccines developer and producer.

Although it is a loss-making business at present, CSL’s management has stated that it expects it to become profitable within the next five years. I’m very optimistic about its future and believe it will be a big contributor to its growth in the years ahead.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 5% to 10% of adults and 20% to 30% of children globally are subjected to influenza related illnesses each year. In dollar terms CSL believes this to be worth around $6 billion in sales per year.

One thing that I especially like with CSL is that because its products are critical for patients suffering from haemophilia or liver deficiencies demand should remain strong. I think this could make it a great investment through the potentially volatile next few months.

Fellow biotech company Mesoblast limited (ASX: MSB) may look cheap at the moment after the huge sell off that knocked its share price down by 75% in the last 12 months. But I would still pick CSL over it every time and believe that investors will be rewarded for doing so.

CSL’s shares may be changing hands at 28x trailing earnings, but for such a high quality and growing company I believe they are more than worth paying a premium for.

Finally, if you missed out on turning a $50,000 investment in CSL into $370,000, then I would highly recommend giving this a read. It turns out that turning a $10k investment into over $8 million really is possible.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro 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.

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