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Buy medical imaging stock Akumin for a double, Clarus says


AkuminMedical imaging company Akumin (Akumin Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:AKU.U) is now dual listed on both the TSX and NASDAQ, a move that should help close the valuation gap between it and competitor RadNet.

That’s according to Clarus Securities analyst Noel Atkinson, who delivered an update to clients on Thursday where he reiterated his “Buy” rating and $6.00 target price.

Florida-based Akumin, which owns, operates or manages nearly 130 independent freestanding medical imaging centres across seven states, announced on Wednesday that it has been approved for trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market, starting on Thursday under the symbol AKU. The company intends to keep its Cdn dollar-priced AKU listing on the TSX but delist its US dollar-priced AKU.U on September 8.

“Our NASDAQ listing is a significant milestone in the history of our company. It marks the beginning of the execution of our US capital markets strategy, which we expect will have many benefits including broadening our investor base,” said president and CEO Riadh Zine in a press release.

Atkinson said the move will be positive not just for Akumin but for the US outpatient imaging sector as a whole, since the two largest operators —Akumin and California-based RadNet— will now be on a major US exchange.

“Awareness of Akumin and its recent performance should increase with U.S. investors, and we would also anticipate AKU entering U.S. small-cap indices and ETFs by the summer 2021,” said Atkinson. “If Akumin performs well post-listing, we would not be surprised to also see some of Akumin’s larger privately-held competitors such as SimonMed, CDI, or Touchstone go public through an IPO or a SPAC.”

Akumin’s share price has shot up over the past few weeks since the company delivered its second quarter earnings report on August 12. Since August 7, AKU.U has gained 75 per cent. The stock still remains in the red for 2020, however, and is currently down 19 per cent year-to-date.

Akumin’s second quarter featured revenue of $53.6 million, which was flat year-over-year, while adjusted EBITDA was up to $13.7 million compared to $12.3 million a year earlier. The company said its business in terms of volume of procedures was significantly impacted by COVID-19 but its numbers started to come back once stay-at-home orders began to lift. (All figures in US dollars.)

Comparatively, Atkinson says Akumin continues to trade at a sizeable discount to the larger RadNet on an EV/Adjusted EBITDA basis for both 2020 and 2021 estimates.

“We note that Akumin is growing revenues faster than RadNet and has sustained a significantly higher Adj. EBITDA margin in recent quarters. Moreover, the slowdown in acquisition activity has allowed Akumin’s working capital to normalize, and in turn AKU has generated substantial free cash flow in two of the past three quarters,” Atkinson said.

“So long as AKU can continue its strong operating performance, we see a path for a swift re-rating to a similar 2021e EV/Adj. EBITDA multiple as RDNT – which would equate to an AKU share price of about $4.75,” Atkinson wrote.

At press time, Atkinson’s $6.00 target represented a projected one-year return of 106.9 per cent.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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