With a 7% share of the $10 billion global waste market, Stericycle Inc. (NASDAQ: SRCL) is the largest medical waste management company in North America. The company specializes in collecting and disposing of medical waste, recalled and expired health care products, and infection control management and services. The company's clientele consists of over 375,000 health care facilities, including hospitals, blood banks, and clinics.
Stericycle stands to benefit from an aging U.S. population. As the second half of the baby boomer population continues to age, it is likely that their need for medical services, and thus their propensity to generate medical waste will continue to increase.
SRCL operates national regulated waste management networks in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, and the United Kingdom. In 2009, SRCL served approximately 459,200 customers worldwide, of which approximately 11,300 are large-quantity generators, such as hospitals, blood banks and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and approximately 447,900 are small-quantity generators, such as outpatient clinics, medical and dental offices, long-term and sub-acute care facilities, veterinary offices, municipalities and retail pharmacies.
SRCL also benefits from significant customer diversification. No one customer accounts for more than 2% of total revenues, and the top 10 customers combined account for only 7% of total revenues.
In 2009, SRCL earned a total of $1.2 billion in total revenues, a significant increase from its 2008 total revenues of $1.1 billion. This had a positive impact on SRCL's net income. Between 2008 and 2009, SRCL's net income increased from $149 million in 2008 to $176 million in 2009.
Stericycle has two types of clients: Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) and Small Quantity Generators (SQGs). LQGs include hospitals, distributors, and pharmaceutical companies, and SQGs include doctors' offices and retail pharmacies. Stericycle provides its clients with its patented Bio Systems and SteriSafe services. Bio Systems aids LQGs in the disposal of needles and syringes. SQGs use SteriSafe to dispose of RMW (radioactive mixed wastes). Both services help their clients maintain a safer workplace and comply with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations.
Stericycle has been highly successful over the past five years due to high margins and a growing customer base. The graphs illustrate that revenue has nearly doubled since 2003 with the immense increase in (SQGs).
Government regulations around waste disposal can be both boon and bane of companies like Stericycle. When regulations at aimed at Stericylce they can cost the company both time and money. On the other hand, stricter regulations around the way medical waste has to be disposed can also lead to greater demand for Stericycle's services. The company, for instance, has seen an increase in enrollment for its Bio Systems and SteriSafe programs because they comply with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations and increase employee safety by reducing the risk of injury (i.e. needle pricks or exposure to hazardous medical waste).
High barriers to entry prevent new players front entering and competing with Stericycle in the medical waste market. Stericycle has built an expansive network of hospitals, outpatient centers, and other small medical facilities and has a 95% customer retention rate.
The increase of the aging U.S. population is directly linked with the increase in SQG customers. The elderly are typically in need greater amounts of medical care (e.g. tests and medications), which generates more medical waste. Stericycle operates on a 55% margin for SQGs. This bodes well for future profitability, as the high margins make this an attractive trend for SRCL.
Stericycle is the 800 pound gorilla of the global medical waste market. It has 5 times the revenue of its nearest direct competitor. Stericycle is the largest medical waste company with 7% of the global medical waste market.