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Alcon (ALC) Publishes Dividend, New Board Member Addition Plans

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Alcon Inc. (ALC - Free Report) has recently published its agenda for its 2022 Annual General Meeting (“AGM”), which is scheduled to take place on Apr 27. One of the two major updates that the company published in the agenda is the proposal to the AGM to elect Raquel C. Bono, M.D. as a new board member.

Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon and a retired vice admiral of U.S. Navy Medical Corps. She was the first female three-star admiral in the medical field in the history of the U.S. Navy and also the first Asian-American woman promoted to vice admiral.

Bono has been the chief health officer of Viking, Inc. and a principal at RCB Consulting since October 2019. Alcon management believes her 25 years of experience in leadership positions in healthcare should add significant value to the company’s growth prospects.

Another proposal the company has made as part of the 2022 AGM agenda is a declaration of dividend. More specifically, Alcon plans to declare a dividend of CHF (the Swiss franc) 0.20 in cash per share subject to the shareholders’ approval. This will be payable with the record date expected to be May 2 and the payout in Switzerland is expected to be on or around May 5.

Meanwhile, Alcon’s AGM will take place in a closed format without the physical presence of shareholders. Shareholders are asked to exercise voting rights exclusively by sending voting instructions to the independent representative due to the closed format.

Alcon's Current Growth Trajectory at a Glance

Currently, Alcon is gaining significantly on strong market rebound following the COVID-led downturn. Its Surgical and Vision Care businesses are showing robust gains, primarily by increasing demand for new products, solid commercial execution and strong market recovery in the United States. In Surgical, the company remains the market leader in presbyopia-correcting IOLs on the strength of PanOptix and Vivity. In Vision Care, Alcon continues to see strong demand for PRECISION1 and PRECISION1 for Astigmatism, which are the company’s newest contact lenses for the mainstream market.

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In terms of end market, within Surgical, barring India, which has been slower to recover from the pandemic, global procedures in the last-reported fourth quarter 2021 were up low to mid-single digits versus 2019. Within the Vision Care end market, the contact lens market in the fourth quarter broadly returned to the 2019 level and grew in high single-digits, led by the United States.

The company’s focus on research and innovation is also encouraging. In Presbyopia-correcting Intraocular Lens (PCIOLs), Alcon currently leads the market with over 55% of global share and over 80% share in the United States. In Surgical, the company maintained strong market share in PCIOLs, and was able to solidify its market-leading position due to strong demand for products like PanOptix and Vivity despite new market entrants. Vivity's non-defractive properties, ease of use and consistency of surgical outcomes make it particularly appealing.

In the equipment business, the company is gaining from product placements of phaco equipment, Active Sentry handpiece, the LuxORRevalia microscope and the Argos Biometer. The company has also unveiled the latest version of Cataract Connectivity with SMARTCataract.

In Vision Care, Alcon is expanding its contact lens offerings to the premium and middle-market segments by launching a steady stream of new silicone hydrogel daily and reusable products.

Price Performance

Alcon has outperformed the industry over the past year. The stock has gained 8.9% against the industry’s 14.3% dip.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Alcon currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are McKesson Corporation (MCK - Free Report) , AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. (AMN - Free Report) and Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (BIO - Free Report) .

McKesson, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter fiscal 2022 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $6.15, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.38 by 14.3%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

McKesson has a long-term earnings growth rate of 11.8%. MCK has gained 49.7% compared with the industry’s 4.7% growth in the past year.

AMN Healthcare, flaunting a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.2%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 19.5%, on average.

AMN Healthcare has outperformed its industry in the past year. AMN has gained 23.8% versus the 62% industry decline.

Bio-Rad reported fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $3.21, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 11.9%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2.

Bio-Rad has an earnings yield of 2.3% versus the industry’s negative yield. BIO surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 66.9%.