George Soros Eyes Integra

04/01/2005 12:00 am EST

Focus:

Alexander Green

Chief Investment Strategist, The Oxford Club

"As part of our strategy in selecting stocks for The Oxford Club Communiqué, we look for companies that most investors have never heard of," says editor Alexander Green, along with Lou Bass.  One advisor who is familiar with his latest pick is George Soros.

"Integra Lifesciences (IART NASDAQ) is a small company quickly becoming a dominant force in the manufacture and sale of medical devices for neurosurgery, orthopedics, and soft-tissue repair. Already Integra is ranked #2 in the world. But the biggest neurosurgery products vendor is Goliath Johnson & Johnson. Integra CEO Stuart Essig has made it his ambitious goal to overtake them. In the past eight years Integra has gobbled up 20 companies. Essig plans to add at least three to five new businesses a year for the foreseeable future. And with almost $200 million in cash and short-term investments, there's plenty of fuel for an acquisition spree.

"Integra also has a highly successful R&D division. The firm has successfully launched new products to worldwide acceptance virtually every year. Revenues have grown at an average rate of 61% for the past five years. Gross profit margins in the most recent quarter were 62%. And quarter after quarter, organic growth continues to exceed the company's lofty long-term objective of 18%. Another plus, is that the company operates in a recession-proof industry, as medical conditions don't ebb and flow with the tide of the markets."

Lou Bass, editor ofTakeover Trader, and contributing editor for the Oxford Club, adds, "Integra is a stock we first recommended in 2003. Back then we thought it was a superb stock to own, largely because it was undervalued, growing at a breakneck pace, and still relatively unknown. The good news is that not much has changed since then. Yes, shares have climbed significantly, but with a PEG ratio of 1.5 there’s still a lot of value to be had. And when you consider the company’s growth potential, the bargain is much more apparent. To this day, hardly anyone knows about Integra.

"Only a handful of brokerage houses have blessed Integra with coverage. This general ignorance is to our great advantage. With soaring revenues, aggressive growth tactics, and an unparalleled ability to adapt and grow with the market, it won’t be long before Integra Lifesciences reaches its goal of becoming #1. But once that happens, an army of 40,000 brokers will get on the horn and start talking up the company. The institutions holding 96% of outstanding shares know this all too well. That’s why they’ve been trying to keep Integra a secret as long as they can.

"One of those gatekeepers includes George Soros, who incidentally is the world’s 54th richest person. Known traditionally as a hedge fund guru with expertise in currency speculation, he now owns 10% of Integra. And his track record of success is hard to argue with. As the principal investment advisor for the Quantum Fund, he is recognized for having the best performance record of any investment fund in the world over the fund’s 26-year history. If you haven’t added Integra to your portfolio yet, it might be time to consider doing so."

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