On October 16 Jubak Picks Danaher (DHR) reported third quarter earnings of $1.00 a share, five cents a share above Wall Street expectations. Revenue grew by 9.7% year over year to $4.53 billion, above Wall Street projections of $4.47 billion. The company raised its guidance for the full 2017 year to earnings of $3.96 to $4.00 a share against the consensus estimate of $3.96 a share and above prior guidance of $3.90 to $3.97 a share.
On the news the stock has decisively broken above its 50-day moving average at $85.51. Shares closed today, October 24, at $90.95. Danaher is up 6.15% since I added it to my Jubak Picks portfolio on June 20, 2017. Today I’m raising my target price to $99 from the previous $95 a share.
That revenue growth of 9.5% broke down this way: 3% organic growth, 5.5% acquisitions, 1% foreign exchange gains from the weak dollar. Gross margins climbed 70 basis points from the third quarter of 2016. Operating margins were flat with 2016 at 16.9%. Free cash flow increased to $935 million for the quarter and now totals $2.23 billion for 2017 to date, up from $2.02 billion at the same point in 2016
In the life sciences unit, the business that prompted my June buy after Danaher acquired water purification and filtration company Pall to give it a big presence in what I’d call industrial water purification, revenue climbed 5% year over year. Operating margins improved by 230 basis points to 17.7%. For a company pursuing an acquisitions-heavy strategy, that kind of improvement in operating margins is exactly what investors want to see since it shows that management has been able to improve performance in the businesses it acquired by increasing sales (in this case) and cutting costs.
Those trends were even stronger in the diagnostics unit where revenue climbed 19.5% year over year (15 of those percentage points came from acquisitions.) Operating margins in that unit improved by 80 basis points.