How well-positioned is Stryker in 2022? 5 notes

Spinal Tech

In 2021, Stryker continued to grow in orthopedics through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the company hit the ground running with a multibillion-dollar deal.

Five things to know:

1. Orthopedic sales saw year-over-year growth consistently in the first, second and third quarters of 2021. The first quarter saw a 21.4 percent jump, the second quarter saw an 82.3 percent jump and the third quarter saw a 16.1 percent jump.

2. Stryker jumped on acquisitions early in 2021 and 2022. Stryker announced its acquisition of OrthoSensor, a digital orthopedic technology company focused on total joint replacements, on Jan. 5, 2021. Almost a year to the day later, Stryker announced its plans to acquire Vocera Communications for $3.1 billion on Jan. 6, 2022.

3. Part of Stryker's acquisition strategy in 2021 included branching out from orthopedics. In September, it acquired Gauss Surgical, which focuses on monitoring blood loss during surgery. Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo said in a second-quarter earnings call that debt reduction and smaller deals were also part of the company's goals.

"We'll continue to look for opportunities to do that as we move forward, but we're ahead of the schedule that we thought we'd be on for debt pay down," Mr. Lobo said. "Our BD teams are working and looking at smaller tuck-in M&A deals, which we think actually provide the most sort of shorter-term growth upside."

4. Robotics growth continues to be a key element in Stryker's business. Preston Wells, vice president of investor relations, pointed to demand in Mako joint robots as a factor in that third-quarter strength.

"[It] continues to help surgeons improve patient outcomes by knowing more and cutting less," Mr. Wells said. "This trend across capital is expected to continue as hospitals take advantage of flexible financing and prioritize capital products like those within our portfolio that are critical to providing emergency care, driving profitable procedures and ensuring safe working environments for caregivers and patients."

5. Stryker's leadership will look different in 2022. Robbie Robinson was appointed president of Stryker's spine division in June, and Stryker's president and COO, Timothy Scannell, announced plans to retire in 2023.

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