Premier: Second Guidance Downgrade Is Telling

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Investment Summary

A 2nd guidance revision to the downside from Premier, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PINC) absorption has got maine acold little constructive connected the institution going forward. I bash not judge it is simply a abbreviated candidate, but the latest introspection findings suggest there's notable hurdles to overcome. Chief among these are regaining traction successful its halfway concern segments, and ratcheting up superior productivity, based connected my estimates. Since my March work connected PINC, shares person sold disconnected 18% astatine the clip of writing.

The firm's Q3 FY'23 numbers bash thing to abate the near-term concerns. Management person revised FY'23 guidance down to $1.34Bn with downsides successful some segments and this is not to beryllium ignored. The banal inactive trades astatine 17x guardant earnings, a bully discount, but not heavy capable to flooded the impeding top-line headwinds. Question turns to what's been priced successful already, and my estimates suggest the marketplace whitethorn person already captured it each and person PINC priced accurately fixed the caller acceptable of guardant expectations. Net-net, I revise my standing connected PINC to a hold.

Figure 1.


Data: Updata

PINC Q3: A Look At What is Priced In

To recognize the market's revised expectations connected PINC's banal price, it is indispensable to delve into the firm's assorted business' and each segment's performance. Notably, determination are prime assets holding up each concern conception successful my opinion. The market's concerns are much financial-related successful my estimation, thing the steadfast tin surely overcome.

Curiously, the adjacent markets businesses person exhibited robust QoQ maturation and are projected to execute a notable 30-40% maturation complaint successful FY'23. However, I find myself questioning the sustainability and semipermanent viability of this maturation trajectory, pursuing management's FY'23 revisions. Question is, is determination capable spine successful the remainder of the portfolio.

I. Contigo Contributions

1. Integration

My thoughts are focused connected Contigo Health, the firm's direct-to-provider ("DTP") and direct-to-employer ("DTE") wellness benefits platform. PINC has utilized Contigo arsenic a conveyance to extract worth astatine times:

  • In 2022, it purchased cardinal assets from TPRN Direct Pay and Devon Health ("TPRN") successful October FY'22. This was connected a $177.5mm valuation, and comprised contracts involving >900,000 providers crossed 4.1mm locations. I touched connected this successful my December PINC publication.
  • Reports connected integrating the assets are pushing along, per absorption (such arsenic the centres of excellence and 3-rd enactment wellness program solutions), but it is inactive aboriginal to gauge successes conscionable yet successful my opinion.

2. ConfigureNet Launch

The steadfast launched its ConfigureNet offering successful Q1 arsenic well, the rebranding of the TPRN assets. This is an out-of-network wrapper offering, built from the 900,000 providers/4.1mm locations discussed earlier. Management noted it has shown archetypal traction and that is promising too, securing respective customers successful the quarter. This is perfectly needed fixed the gross headwinds discussed later. Several caller ConfigureNet customers person been secured successful caller months. However, the sustainability of this momentum remains uncertain successful my view, and ongoing scrutiny volition beryllium necessary.

Contigo's lawsuit basal is centred connected provider-sponsored wellness plans and Fortune 50 companies, arsenic good arsenic different ample self-insured employers. While this presents an avenue for imaginable enlargement (in presumption of pipeline), it is indispensable to measure whether this concern is genuinely poised to penetrate self-funded leader wellness plans nationwide, extracurricular of the ample corporates. Is PINC offering a differentiated solution to trim healthcare outgo burden, oregon is it simply 1 among galore players successful a crowded market? That's a hard 1 to reply successful full, but my findings (presented later, regarding ROIC) suggest the competitory vantage whitethorn beryllium waning.

II. Financial Performance - Revenue Downsides

Shifting to the fiscal performance, PINC's Q3 numbers caused a disturbance connected the sell-side aft release. Baird cut to neutral instantly and others followed suite.

1. Top Line Troubles

  • Revenues declaration by 7% YoY, proviso concatenation services ("SCS") deed worst connected a 14% decline. Performance services besides tightened 9% YoY. In SCS interest gross was level and determination was nary assistance from its Continuum of Care radical successful Q1. On that note, I'd opine PINC's absorption connected exertion enablement to heighten subordinate efficiencies is commendable, but it raises questions astir the sustainability and scalability of this maturation driver.
  • You tin spot superior expenditures allocated towards each conception paring backmost substantially from 2022-2023 implicit the 9-months, falling from $61mm to $58.4mm connected aggregate. This tells maine the steadfast isn't allocating further superior towards increasing the apical enactment either. I'd beryllium looking to operating efficiencies and possibly inorganic net maturation (margins) from here.

Figure 2.


Data: PINC 10-Q, Q3 FY'23

2. Guidance Revised Lower

Several adjustments person been made to the gross ranges fixed impeding headwinds that person seen PINC slash guidance doubly now, erstwhile successful the Q1 results, and once successful February. The 2nd downward revision is telling. Each respective concern is plagued by reasonably rudimentary hurdles:

  • SCS gross from excess marketplace supply, and manufacturing delays;
  • Performance services adjusted little from axenic request weakening (macro-issues basically);
  • Both from wide macro-challenges (tight money, outgo inflation, etc.).
  • The large drivers connected this - a little outlook successful nonstop sourcing products to $250-$265mm in, and SCS revenues to $895mm. It besides lowered show services nett gross to $440mm astatine the little rend of range.

Simply, it tells maine that some businesses are underperforming. Hence, these revisions underscore the imaginable hazard successful the PINC concern statement close now, and uncertainties that PINC faces successful the adjacent term. Taking each these factors into account, absorption present projected FY'23 gross of$1.34Bn to $1.39Bn, connected caller adj. EBITDA of $490mm to $510mm.

These adjustments besides bespeak the interaction of changes successful gross guidance and Premier's amended statement with FFF Enterprises, which has resulted successful a alteration successful accounting methodology for PINC's ownership interest. It owns 49% of FFF done stock, and the concern was nary longer accounted for nether the equity method of accounting from the March 4th (per PINC's Q3 FY'23 10-Q, pp. 33: "Other Income, Net";).

III. Capital Productivity, Return connected Owner Capital

1. Gross Productivity

Despite the top-line troubles you wouldn't announcement it astatine the borderline for PINC. Gross margins person crept up from 52% successful Q3 FY'21 to 66% successful Q3 FY'23 (TTM numbers).

Putting this successful presumption applicable to investors, the gross nett scaled by the firm's size of operating assets has accrued too, from 23% to 26% successful the TTM. This is seen successful Figure 3, wherever the rolling TTM gross nett is divided by the full assets each quarter, to amusement the plus productivity connected a rolling basis. This tells maine you're getting $0.26 successful gross backmost for each $1 enactment to enactment successful productive capital, not bad, but could bash with improving considering immoderate names are pushing successful the 90's astatine present. The information it is expanding connected a comparatively unchangeable plus basal is bully quality too.

Figure 3.


Data: Author, PINC SEC FIlings

2. Returns connected Capital Provided, Capital Invested

Challenges from the bladed gross superior productivity are observed successful the translation of gross to post-tax earnings. Figure 4 illustrates a reconciled capitalist connection summarising the show of the superior owned by shareholders of the business. As 'owners' of the business' capital, you'd privation to spot the institution producing returns connected the wealth it invests higher than what's disposable elsewhere.

The full superior provided by investors (equity, debt) is shown, alongside the full superior PINC has invested into productive plus ("Capital At Risk"). You tin spot the steadfast hasn't enactment each the superior provided to work, with ~$900mm successful installation remaining astatine $1.5Bn successful superior astatine risk.

Several findings are gleaned:

  1. Absent maturation successful post-tax earnings, reducing from $338mm successful 2021 to $241mm past 4th (TTM figures);
  2. Downsizing incremental investments, ~$200mm successful nett divestitures crossed 2021-'23 to date; reinvestment rates negative;
  3. OpEx accrued from $534mm to $592mm with $200mm little superior invested;
  4. Trailing turnover down ~$246mm implicit the aforesaid time, not the astir perfect acceptable of combinations.

The steadfast is inactive capable to propulsion disconnected beardown amounts of currency travel to shareholders each period, and spun disconnected $246mm successful trailing FCF past quarter. However, reasoning successful archetypal principles, there's headwinds here.

For starters, I'm looking astatine the earnings, the deficiency of growth, and the magnitude of superior consumed successful bid to get there. There's a tighter superior basal for sure, but it is producing 3 percent points little instrumentality connected existing superior for 1, and the invested superior turnover astatine 0.9x tells maine the superior strength is inactive precocious anyways.

Figure 4.


Data: Author, PINC SEC FIlings

3. Economic Earnings

My regular readers volition cognize I'm ever connected the hunt for companies that person exceptional economical characteristics. A thoughtful investigation shows america the worth successful doing truthful - if you tin get the marketplace instrumentality (hurdle rate), you'd privation your institution to beryllium getting that, oregon better, successful bid to allocate much superior (or immoderate successful the archetypal place) towards an investment.

A steadfast that is generating returns connected its superior investments supra the hurdle complaint (in this instance, 12% to bespeak the semipermanent marketplace averages) shows america it tin absorption connected increasing without jeopardising worth to its shareholders, and vice-versa. Economic earnings, the magnitude of post-tax nett supra the hurdle rate, quantifies this nicely.

Looking astatine PINC's returns [TTM], you'll enactment the economical profits person been thin, ranging from 4-8%. The marketplace wants double-digits astatine minimum successful my sentiment successful bid to complaint a institution higher with much marketplace capitalization. There's truly nary scope for this to hap otherwise, particularly with headwinds connected the fiscal side. Further, with the outgo of superior standing higher implicit time, the market's expectations person moved successful tandem with this. Hence, a 12% complaint isn't unreasonable, and the steadfast is resting 4-8 points supra this each quarter, not an eye-popping instrumentality to pull ample investment.

Figure 5.


Data: Author, PINC SEC FIlings

IV. Valuation

The steadfast is comparatively attractively priced astatine 17.3x guardant earnings, a smirk-inducing 33% discount to the sector. At 11x guardant EBIT this is charismatic excessively and could perchance suggest immoderate mispricings. Looking to the existent marketplace headdress of $3.14Bn, taking a 12% discount rate, it looks arsenic if the marketplace has PINC's aboriginal currency flows astatine $377mm ($377/0.12 = $3,141). At the trailing NOPAT of $241mm, this calls for a 3-year CAGR of 16% implicit the coming 3-years, getting you to the $3.14Bn scope (241x1.16^3)/0.12 = 3,135).

This is surely feasible and my numbers telephone for the steadfast to bash ~$240mm successful NOPAT this year, with conscionable 250bps of gross maturation [see: Appendix 1]. Hence, this would suggest my numbers align with the market's expectations, indicating there's nary mispricing successful my opinion.

These findings are good supported by quantitative findings illustrated by the quant standing system. The steadfast is rated lowly connected maturation and valuation, successful tandem with my ain findings presented here.

Figure 6.


Data: Seeking Alpha

In short

Looking to my latest introspection findings, it suggests that PINC has a acceptable of wide hurdles to flooded successful bid to pull a higher marketplace valuation implicit the coming 12 months. There are bully talking points, but management's guidance revisions - times 2 present - combined with the economical findings successful its superior allocation strategy suggest a clasp is warranted. Further, the quant strategy backs this up with akin findings to my own, giving assurance to the estimates. Based connected the culmination of this data, my sentiment connected PINC is present a hold, and I americium revising my standing connected the institution down from a bargain to bespeak this.

Appendix 1. PINC Forward Estimates


Data: Author Estimates

This nonfiction was written by

Zach Bristow illustration picture

Buy broadside equity strategist conducting a blend of fundamental, technical, semipermanent investigation crossed the wide healthcare, commodities and industrials spectrum successful developed markets. Helping you presumption your portfolios for the aboriginal is my apical priority. Shoot maine a connection to sermon commercialized ides oregon speech portfolio construction. Disclaimer:The opinions expressed successful each articles bash not represent arsenic concern advice. Please retrieve to behaviour your ain owed diligence.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we person nary stock, enactment oregon akin derivative presumption successful immoderate of the companies mentioned, and nary plans to initiate immoderate specified positions wrong the adjacent 72 hours. I wrote this nonfiction myself, and it expresses my ain opinions. I americium not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I person nary concern narration with immoderate institution whose banal is mentioned successful this article.

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