The 2013 All-America Research Team: Life Science & Diagnostic Tools, No. 3: Ross Muken

Ross Muken
ISI Group

First-place appearances: 0

Total appearances: 3

Analyst debut: 2010

Unranked last year, ISI Group’s Ross Muken claims third place. “Ross is my first call on a variety of names and is one of the few [analysts] who is knowledgeable on both product detail and the financial models,” cheers one backer. “Bottom line: He helps us make money.” Myriad headwinds, including the U.S. sequester, a slowdown in China-based demand and broad revenue weakness across Europe, are buffeting the sector, the researcher reports. He forecasts that “the group [will continue] to exhibit mixed performance for the remainder of the year, as the capital-expenditure environment is challenging and the macro remains somewhat uncertain.” Muken’s top pick going forward is Waltham, Massachusetts–based Thermo Fisher Scientific, thanks to the laboratory equipment provider’s attractive organic growth profile, substantial opportunity to expand operating margin and recently announced acquisition of Carlsbad, California–based rival Life Technologies Corp. The $13.6 billion deal, set to close in early 2014, offers potential earnings-per-share upside, he believes. “The impressive cash flow the combined entity generates will allow for a substantial improvement in capital returns over the medium term,” Muken explains, “with a distinct focus on the dividend.” He does not expect regulatory issues to stop the transaction, although he thinks a few minor divestitures are possible. — Leslie Kramer