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Is Reliq Health a Buy right now?

These days, stocks across the board are under pressure and that includes names in the healthcare sector. And with the market continuing to take profitless companies to the woodshed, investors have been turning more to quality businesses rather than growth-at-any-cost ideas. 

It’s with that perspective in mind that portfolio manager Bruce Campbell has pointed to in-home patient monitoring company Reliq Health Technologies (Reliq Health Technologies Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSXV:RHT) as a potential diamond in the rough of today’s markets.

“We don’t own it right now. We did get stopped out of it. But we’re watching and we want to get back into it at some point in time because we know what the potential is,” said Campbell, President of StoneCastle Investment Management, who spoke on a BNN Bloomberg session on Tuesday. 

A year ago, Campbell had nominated Reliq as one of his top picks for the 12 months ahead, and while like most of the market the stock has gone for a loss since last September, Campbell likes Reliq’s positioning to become profitable in 2022.

“They have a software suite that ties into a lot of hardware that helps people to be monitored at home for a number of different health ailments, and then that can be reported back to their doctor,” he said. “And if you look at their press releases, they’ve just been going out and constantly adding new patient groups, either doctor groups or health care groups, and now it’s a function of being able to get into those people’s homes to actually hook them up to the machines.”

“It’s a reoccurring revenue program whereby they’re getting paid each month. In this case, it’s actually in US dollars. They’re projecting that they’re going to be EBITDA-positive this year,” Campbell said.

Reliq last posted its quarterly numbers in late May where the company’s third quarter fiscal 2022 (for the period ended March 31) featured net revenue of $2.5 million compared to $441,985 a year earlier, signalling the growth track Reliq has been on recently. For the first three quarters of its 2022 fiscal year, the company posted revenue of $6.2 million compared to $1.1 million for the prior year period.

“The first three quarters of FY2022 were a period of rapid growth for the Company,” said Lisa Crossley, CEO, in Reliq’s fiscal Q3 press release. “Gross Margin improved to 70 per cent for the nine month period as compared to 47 per cent for the comparable period in FY2021.”

Crossley emphasized the company’s revenue switch from hardware to software as a major factor.

“Despite the significant resurgence of COVID-19 (Omicron variant) in late 2021/early 2022, revenue from software and services sales more than doubled quarter-over-quarter from Q2 to Q3 FY2022, consistent with the Company’s prior statements that by the end of Calendar 2022 that the majority of the Company’s revenue would be generated by software and services sales versus device sales,” she said. 

“The Company expects the bulk of its growth to occur in the second half of this calendar year as previously disclosed larger clients come online and the impact of COVID-19 on operations is reduced,” she said.

It’s also the quick pace of contract wins that’s noticeable on Reliq. The company announced earlier this month a new physician contract win in Florida, for example, which will see over 50,000 patients onboarded to Reliq’s iUGO Care platform by the end of 2023. Reliq said average revenue per patient will be about $60 per month at a 75 per cent gross margin.

But the strong operational performance doesn’t appear to have translated into share price gains, as Reliq has been cut in half this year, going from just over $1 per share to now around $0.50. The longer view hasn’t been much to write home about, either: after taking into consideration a few ups and downs, RHT’s three-year return is now basically zero.

Campbell says another good sign for the company is the strong insider buying, giving indication that management has good faith in the company’s (and stock’s) eventual success.

“I’ve been following this stock for quite some time, and when [CEO Crossley] first came to the company I think it was three or four years ago now she didn’t have a single share. And she hasn’t been gifted a whole bunch of shares. She just routinely buys shares in the market,” Campbell said.

“She has about three million shares now, and if you look over the last two months, she’s bought I think 100,000 so far this month and she bought 50,000 last month and every month she continues to add. So, she’s obviously a big believer in what she’s doing,” he said.

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