People are living longer and longer lives. That’s a medical miracle, but also a social problem. The human body becomes increasingly frail as it ages, thus requiring more and more care. Here are a few companies set to benefit from this trend.
On June 12, Bloomberg reported that Jiroemon Kimura of Japan had died at the age of 116. According to Guinness World Records he had lived longer than any other man, ever. As a comparison, the oldest woman ever died at age 122. These are impressive examples of the long-term trend toward living longer.
There are all sorts of reasons for increasing longevity from simple things like regular bathing to more impressive medical advances, like heart transplants and effective cancer treatments. As more and more people live longer lives, however, society faces a notable challenge in providing care for its elder statesmen.
Riding the Trend
In addition to increased age, there is also a push to rework the U.S. health care system. Increasingly, that will mean reducing costs so society can afford the onslaught of the massively large baby boom generation. Part of that is going to mean keeping people out of hospitals for as long as possible, since that is among the most expensive care options.
Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE:CAH) is poised to push into this market in a big way. The company is a middle man in the pharmacy business, distributing pharmaceuticals and medical products to more than 60,000 pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician offices. However, it recently acquired AssuraMed, which specializes in delivering medical products directly to customers’ homes.
Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE:CAH) recently lost a key customer, which is part of what spurred the AssuraMed acquisition. The customer defection and purchase will likely result in weak top- and bottom-line results this year and maybe next year, too. However, the company’s top line has been on a pretty steady upward path for a decade with the lowest quarterly earnings during the span coming in at around $1.75 a share. The dividend, meanwhile, has been increased annually for over a decade. The around 2.6% dividend yield is a good deal.
At some point, however, people just get too old to care for at home. That’s where companies like Omega Healthcare Investors Inc (NYSE:OHI) and Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN) come in. These two are at opposite ends of the size spectrum, with Health Care residing at the top and Omega Healthcare Investors Inc (NYSE:OHI) a much smaller player.
An Old Company
Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN) is one of the oldest healthcare focused REITs. It owns around 1,000 properties in The United States, Canada, and in the United Kingdom. Although elder care remains the key driver of its business, its portfolio includes senior housing communities, skilled nursing facilities, medical office buildings, medical centers, and life science facilities.
Aggressive acquisition efforts have led top line expansion and regular dividend increases in recent years. That’s led to a heady increase in the company’s share price. However, with a $17 billion market cap, Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN) needs increasingly large acquisitions to keep up the momentum it’s seen of late. Expect growth to slow down for this industry leader. That’s not a knock against the company, however it suggests that share price gains will be less important than the REIT’s around 4.5% dividend yield.
Smaller, With Growth Potential
Omega Healthcare Investors Inc (NYSE:OHI) Investors owns or holds mortgages on over 450 skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities in 33 states. The company’s portfolio is about half the size of Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN)’s and its market cap is just $3.6 billion.