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Since its second quarter report late last month, shares of Cynosure (CYNO) have surged about 15.0% to hit their 52-week high of $27.69 on August 27. This Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) provider of aesthetic treatment systems appears to be a solid momentum pick, given its average earnings surprise of about 151.0% over the last five quarters, one-year return of more than 171%, improving prospects and triple-digit earnings growth expectation for 2012.

Strong Second Quarter

On July 24, 2012, Cynosure reported earnings of 20 cents per share for the second quarter of 2012, well ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 11 cents and the adjusted penny loss per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues increased 50% year over year to $39.6 million, making it the highest quarterly revenue in the company’s history. Revenues were ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $36.0 million.

The company benefited from the Cellulaze Cellulite Laser Workstation, which resulted in a 59% increase in laser revenue (and 92% increase in North American laser revenue). Since the FDA approval in January 2012, response from physicians and patients has been encouraging. In addition, increasing revenue contribution from Cellulaze's disposable components (the single-use SideLaze3D fiber and the ThermaGuide intelligent delivery system) also contributed to the top line. Cynosure recorded 36% growth in the international market on the back of robust demand from its overall portfolio, including MedLite C6 and SmoothShapes XV systems.

Gross profit increased 52.9% year over year to $23 million, which was accompanied by a 100 basis points (bps) expansion in gross margin to 58.2%. A higher revenue contribution from North America benefited margins as this region commands premium pricing. Despite a 17% increase in adjusted operating expenses (excluding intangible amortization), the company’s focus on leveraging its fixed cost base is yielding results. Operating expense margin dropped 13.6 percentage points to 48.03%. The company reported $4 million as adjusted income from operations compared with a loss incurred in the year-ago period.

Cynosure’s portfolio further expanded in July with the 510 (k) clearance from the FDA for a home-use over the counter device for the treatment of facial wrinkles. The device, developed in partnership with Unilever (UL), is expected to be launched commercially in 2013 by Unilever. In addition, the company has completed 510(k) submission for the industry’s first picosecond laser platform technology for tattoo removal and treatment of pigmented lesions.

Earnings Estimates Heading Higher

Although seasonality is expected to be an important factor impacting third quarter results, Cynosure is confident of a strong second half based on the Cellulaze momentum. According to market estimates, the treatment of cellulite is a multibillion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone.

On the basis of a strong second quarter and robust outlook, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2012 increased almost 47.5% over the past 60 days to $0.59, representing year-over-year growth of 685.0%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 has increased 16.7% to $0.77, representing year-over-year growth of approximately 31.6%.

Stretched Valuation

The valuation of Cynosure looks stretched compared to its peers by most metrics. The company is trading at a price-to-book (P/B) of 2.11x, a considerable premium to the peer group average of 1.58x. With respect to the price-to-sales (P/S) and EV/EBITDA ratios as well, valuation looks stretched. The P/S ratio of the company stood at 1.94, an 8.9% premium to the peer group average of 1.78. Cynosure’s EV/EBITDA ratio of 14.16 represents a hefty 25.8% premium to the peer group average of 11.26. The premium valuation seems warranted given the strong growth potential of the company.

Chart Reflects Strength

Cynosure’s price performance has been reasonably strong recently. The stock has been consistently trading above its 200-day moving average since the beginning of 2012. Barring occasional pullbacks, the stock has been above its 50-day moving average over the last year. The stock is hovering around its 52-week high of $27.69 that was reached on August 27, 2012. Cynosure, with a market capitalization of $354 million, has also outperformed the S&P 500 Index over the past year by a substantial margin. The one-year return for the stock is roughly 170.5% compared to a 16.5% return from the S&P 500 index.

Founded in 1991, Cynosure, Inc. develops and markets aesthetic treatment systems that are used by physicians and other practitioners to perform several non-and-minimally invasive procedures, including treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions, rejuvenation of skin, removal of unwanted fat through laser lipolysis and reduction in appearance of cellulite. As of December 31, 2011, the company had sold 11,524 aesthetic treatment systems worldwide. Cynosure has grown both by organic and inorganic means. Recent acquisitions include Eleme Medical (February 2011) and the aesthetic laser business of HOYA ConBio (June 2011).

During 2011, the company derived 44% of its revenues from North America with contributions from Europe (25%), Asia Pacific (25%) and Others (6%). While Cynosure sells its products directly in North America, France, Spain, the UK, Germany, Korea, China, Japan and Mexico, the other countries are catered by its distributors.

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