Genie of Genes: Life Technologies (LIFE)

Life Technologies’ business requires fast-paced innovation and a strong commitment to research and development. At Life, these have been enabled by several years of increasing operating margins and good cash flow. The company generates 55% of its revenues from overseas and has a presence in 160 countries. Although this foreign exposure has historically been vital to the company’s growth, and no doubt will be again, Europe and Asia’s economic slowdowns are currently a drag on corporate profits as have been currency exchange rates. In a competitive and constantly changing industry, Life Technologies has committed to becoming the top genetic sequencing company within the next year. The stock does not carry a dividend, a common trait for growth companies, but it also keeps its debt load in check and sports a reasonable price-to-earnings ratio. Earnings, in fact, have been steadily improving through 2012, and the stock’s price, while choppy, looks to be heading up.

Corporate Responsibility

Biotechnology stocks are sometimes pariahs among SR investors due to concerns ranging from animal cruelty to patenting of life forms. However, many of Life Technologies products do aid in the eradication of serious disease, help protect genetic diversity, and have potential in areas like renewable biofuels. The company is committed to sustainability, which it demonstrates by being a GRI reporter, continually improving energy, water, and materials efficiency, and developing products with minimal packaging. The company publishes detailed data on everything from percentages of ethnic and gender diversity (flat for the past four years) to CO2 emissions and waste stream numbers (improving over the past four years). The board includes one woman.
Revenues: $3.83 Billion
2013E $4.32
2012E $3.98
2011A $3.72
Projected Annual Growth Rate: 10%
Dividend: 0%
52 Week High-Low: $51.47 – $36.07
Risk: Medium