Teladoc’s Model Supports Strong Growth and Anti-Coronavirus Trading

Teladoc Health Inc. (NYSE: TDOC) is one company that may actually be winning because of the coronavirus outbreak, even if it likely hasn’t seen much of a boost from the virus on its business yet. The virtual health care company posted a narrower loss than expected and revenues beat expectations.

While this may overly simplify its business model, what makes Teladoc stand out from regular health clinics is that people effectively video conference with a physician who can then advise them what to do or where to go. There is often no way to do a diagnosis over the phone of course, because some patients may feel or look the same exact way when they get a cold or when they start coming down with the flu (or worse). Still, it’s meant to be a lot simpler getting a video conference on a computer or a mobile device than it is to call a physician and get an office visit appointment.

Teladoc’s year-over-year revenue rose by 27% to $156.5 million in the fourth quarter, and the company reported that the total number of visits rose by 44% to 1.2 million. For all of 2019, its revenue rose by 32% to $553.3 million and its total visits increased by 57% to 4.1 million. What was interesting about its U.S. trends was that the annual number of members rose by 61.1% but the visit-fee-only access grew by 104%, meaning it has a larger pipeline to pool from for future members.

The company also gave strong guidance for the full year of 2020. Total revenue is projected to be in the range of $695 million to $710 million, with adjusted EBITDA to move up into a range of $60 million to $70 million. Total U.S. paid membership is projected to be approximately 43 million to 45 million members (versus 36.7 million in 2019 and 22.8 million in 2018) and visit-fee-only access to be available to approximately 19 million to 20 million individuals (versus 19.3 million in 2019 and 9.5 million in 2018). Teladoc sees a full-year 2020 net loss per share of between $1.19 and $1.06.

Jason Gorevic, chief executive officer, talked up the expectations but never mentioned the coronavirus in the formal press release:

We demonstrated outstanding performance in the fourth quarter and full year of 2019 as we reported record results that were at the high end or exceeded our expectations on all key metrics. Our diversified growth strategies are driving strong growth across our channels. Looking forward, we are well positioned with significant momentum to extend our leadership position and to meet the increasing demand for our comprehensive service offering.

Multiple analysts have chimed in with higher price targets after the company’s earnings report, and more reports are pending:

  • Merrill Lynch raised its target price to $140 from $106.
  • Cantor Fitzgerald raised its target to $135 from $72.
  • Deutsche Bank raised its target to $142 from $101.
  • JPMorgan raised its target price from $112 to $146.
  • Stifel raised its price target to $110 from $83.
  • UBS raised its price target from $90 to $119.

On the same day that the Dow dropped 900 points at one point, Teladoc was last seen up about 23% at $143.60 on 4 million shares traded. That is three times a normal trading day’s worth of volume in less than two hours of trading.

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