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Accounts receivable is a very important component of the revenue a company reports every year, but it is also a source of potential problems.

Accounts receivable represents money earned but not yet collected. It is counted as part of revenue, but it is not yet cash received, and there is no guarantee that it will all be collected in the future.

When a company sees increases in accounts receivable over time greater than changes in revenue, it indicates that the quality of sales (i.e. revenue) is deteriorating.

We ran a screen on the healthcare sector for stocks exhibiting positive sales trends, comparing growth in revenue to growth in accounts receivable year-over-year: increases in revenue exceeding increases in accounts receivable y/y, and accounts receivable becoming a smaller portion of current assets over the past year.‪

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

Do you think these stocks have encouraging sales trends? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by difference between growth in revenue and accounts receivable.

1. XOMA Ltd. (XOMA): Engages in the discovery, development, and manufacture of therapeutic antibodies to treat inflammatory, autoimmune, infectious, and oncological diseases. Market cap of $55.83M. MRQ revenue has increased 178.11% ($16.52M vs. $5.94M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 29.81% ($11.06M vs. $8.52M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 37.98% to 17.55%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has lost 33.2% over the last year.

2. Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (SVA): Engages in the research, development, manufacture, and commercialization of vaccines against the hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and influenza viruses in the People's Republic of China. Market cap of $84.97M. MRQ revenue has increased 52.63% ($15.66M vs. $10.26M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 37.38% ($18.48M vs. $29.51M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 19.11% to 14.26%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has lost 52.26% over the last year.

3. Hansen Medical, Inc. (HNSN): Develops, manufactures, and markets medical robotics designed for accurate positioning, manipulation, and stable control of catheters and catheter-based technologies. Market cap of $120.78M. MRQ revenue has increased 53.14% ($5.36M vs. $3.5M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 29.46% ($3.95M vs. $5.6M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 10.83% to 10.04%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 18.01% (equivalent to 9.74 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 34.23%.

4. RTI Biologics, Inc. (RTIX): Produces orthopedic and other surgical implants that repair and promote the natural healing of human bone and other human tissues, and improve surgical outcomes. Market cap of $243.39M. MRQ revenue has increased 1.0% ($42.26M vs. $41.84M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 52.54% ($18.25M vs. $38.45M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 23.50% to 11.26%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 17.91%.

5. Molina Healthcare Inc. (MOH): Provides Medicaid-related solutions to meet the health care needs of low-income families and individuals, as well as assists state agencies in their administration of the Medicaid program. Market cap of $984.83M. MRQ revenue has increased 13.24% ($1,176.72M vs. $1,039.15M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 18.61% ($185.82M vs. $228.3M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 25.86% to 17.96%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.83, and P/FCF ratio at 4.02. The stock has had a good month, gaining 33.77%.

6. SurModics Inc. (SRDX): Provides drug delivery and surface modification technologies to the healthcare industry. Market cap of $211.99M. MRQ revenue has increased 10.29% ($17.15M vs. $15.55M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 14.46% ($7.69M vs. $8.99M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 23.99% to 14.30%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 9.6% over the last week.

7. Hi Tech Pharmacal Co. Inc. (HITK): Develops, manufactures, markets, and sells generic, prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), and nutritional products in liquid and semisolid dosage forms in the United States. Market cap of $451.58M. MRQ revenue has increased 42.99% ($56.21M vs. $39.31M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 18.95% ($51.09M vs. $42.95M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 36.47% to 30.83%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-07-31 to 3 months ending 2010-07-31. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 16.02% (equivalent to 8.42 days of average volume). The stock has gained 63.46% over the last year.

8. Quidel Corp. (QDEL): Engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of diagnostic testing solutions for applications primarily in infectious diseases, and reproductive and women's health. Market cap of $561.92M. MRQ revenue has increased 17.29% ($33.11M vs. $28.23M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 5.13% ($17.38M vs. $18.32M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 32.94% to 18.72%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 18.63% (equivalent to 33.58 days of average volume). The stock has gained 36.84% over the last year.

9. Trinity Biotech plc (TRIB): Develops, manufactures, distributes, and sells diagnostic test kits and instrumentation worldwide. Market cap of $205.03M. MRQ revenue has increased 5.76% ($19.83M vs. $18.75M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 15.29% ($23.33M vs. $27.54M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 27.51% to 20.48%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has gained 16.81% over the last year.

10. Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (MMSI): Designs, develops, manufactures, and markets single-use medical products for interventional and diagnostic procedures worldwide. Market cap of $549.57M. MRQ revenue has increased 23.66% ($90.48M vs. $73.17M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 4.50% ($42.69M vs. $40.85M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 36.33% to 34.44%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has gained 6.24% over the last year.

11. Neoprobe Corp. (NEOP): Engages in the development and commercialization of surgical and diagnostic oncology products that enhance patient treatment by meeting the critical decision making needs of physicians in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $221.61M. MRQ revenue has increased 25.98% ($3.2M vs. $2.54M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 6.84% ($2.03M vs. $1.9M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 25.99% to 17.84%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.76% (equivalent to 19.67 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 10.73% over the last week.

12. China Medical Technologies Inc. (CMED): Develops, manufactures, and markets immunodiagnostic and molecular diagnostic products. Market cap of $140.05M. MRQ revenue has increased 27.36% ($237.11M vs. $186.17M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 9.78% ($565.06M vs. $514.73M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 39.92% to 30.75%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 13.62% (equivalent to 16.17 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 20.37%.

13. AstraZeneca PLC (AZN): Develops, and commercializes prescription medicines for cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, oncology, and respiratory and inflammation diseases worldwide. Market cap of $60.38B. MRQ revenue has increased 3.99% ($8,213M vs. $7,898M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 13.27% ($9,699M vs. $11,183M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 45.52% to 43.17%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 5.88%, current ratio at 1.53, and quick ratio at 1.4. The stock has gained 0.33% over the last year.

14. Mine Safety Appliances Co. (MSA): Develops, manufactures, and supplies health and safety products used by workers in the fire service, homeland security, construction, and other industries, as well as the military. Market cap of $1.23B. MRQ revenue has increased 23.69% ($300.64M vs. $243.06M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 7.36% ($208.41M vs. $194.13M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 44.26% to 43.32%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 3.09%, current ratio at 2.71, and quick ratio at 1.83. The stock has had a good month, gaining 15.07%.

15. AMERIGROUP Corporation (AGP): Operates as a multi-state managed healthcare company. Market cap of $2.77B. MRQ revenue has increased 7.34% ($1,604.65M vs. $1,494.9M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 8.89% ($163.78M vs. $179.76M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 18.56% to 15.54%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 34.93%.

16. Teleflex Incorporated (TFX): Develops, manufactures, and supplies single-use medical devices used by hospitals and healthcare providers worldwide. Market cap of $2.38B. MRQ revenue has increased 7.78% ($371.89M vs. $345.04M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 7.26% ($318.87M vs. $343.83M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 32.97% to 26.88%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-25 to 3 months ending 2010-09-26. The stock has gained 10.97% over the last year.

17. Mylan, Inc. (MYL): Engages in the development, manufacture, marketing, licensing, and distribution of generic and branded generic pharmaceuticals, specialty pharmaceuticals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) worldwide. Market cap of $7.87B. MRQ revenue has increased 16.28% ($1,575.76M vs. $1,355.11M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 2.25% ($1,280.01M vs. $1,251.86M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 36.15% to 35.47%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has lost 4.05% over the last year.

18. Five Star Quality Care Inc. (FVE): Operates senior living communities, including independent living or congregate care communities, assisted living communities, and nursing facilities in the United States. Market cap of $112.24M. MRQ revenue has increased 8.10% ($329.48M vs. $304.8M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 4.03% ($59.97M vs. $62.49M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 45.76% to 38.89%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 26.93%.

19. Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB): Develops, manufactures, and markets therapeutics in the areas of neurology, immunology, hemophilia, and oncology in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $27.68B. MRQ revenue has increased 11.41% ($1,309.93M vs. $1,175.79M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has decreased 0.62% ($833.13M vs. $838.32M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 39.34% to 29.36%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 10.54%.

20. Waters Corp. (WAT): Designs, manufactures, sells, and services high performance liquid chromatography, ultra performance liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry (MS) instrument systems and support products primarily in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Asia. Market cap of $7.12B. MRQ revenue has increased 13.34% ($454.53M vs. $401.04M y/y) while MRQ accounts receivable has increased 5.0% ($354.44M vs. $337.56M y/y). Accounts receivable/current assets has decreased from 23.47% to 19.02%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-10-01 to 3 months ending 2010-10-02. The stock has gained 4.06% over the last year.

*Accounting data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 20 Healthcare Stocks With Positive Receivables Trends