Generation Investment Management Initiates Position in VWR Corp.(NASDAQ:VWR)​

London-based investment advisory firm Generation Investment Management LLP initiated a new position in the healthcare industry after taking a stake in research laboratory products provider VWR Corp. (NASDAQ:VWR).

In an SEC filing dated Dec. 19, Generation Investment Management disclosed owning 6.87 million shares, representing a 5.2% interest, in Pennsylvania-based VWR.

Solid Performer

VWR ended the third quarter of 2016 with higher net sales and net income on a yearly basis as it continued to execute on its strategy, setting it up for record annual financial performance.

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The company booked net sales of $1.14 billion, up 3.7% year over year, driven in part by strong sales from the Americas.

Net income, meanwhile, totaled $40.6 million, or 31 cents per share, up from $11.0 million, or 8 cents per share, reported in the year-ago period.

As of September 30, VWR has $141.7 million in cash and $2.02 billion in debt.

Acquisition Strategy

In addition to being a solid performer, VWR was also active with acquisitions during the year.

The company kicked off 2016 with the takeover of laboratory kit suppliers Therapak Corp. and Therapak Pharma Services Ltd. in January, to bolster its product and service offering.

VWR followed this up in June with the acquisition of Netherlands-based JM Separations, B.V., which provides fluid handling and separation technology products.

To complement its existing single-use capabilities, VWR bought PAW BioScience Products, Inc., a sanitary fluid handling products manufacturer and distributor based in New Jersey, in July.

In November, VWR purchased Reliable Biopharmaceutical and BioArra in a bid to strengthen its commitment to customers.

Missouri-based Reliable Biopharmaceutical makes high-quality pharmaceutical ingredients and high-purity ingredients, and its acquisition is expected to bolster VWR’s custom chemical and biochemical manufacturing portfolio.

Pennsylvania-based BioArra, meanwhile, produces U.S. origin serum-based products for research and production purposes. VWR sees this transaction strengthening its support to cellular science customers.

The financial terms of these deals were not disclosed.

Chicago-based hedge fund Madison Dearborn Partners LLC holds 45.75 million shares, representing a 34.8% interest, in VWR (NASDAQ:VWR) for its largest holding. The stake has a market value of $1.30 billion.

Generation Investment Management’s Top Equity Picks 

The investment firm’s top equity pick is Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) as of the end of the third quarter, Generation Investment Management held 15.18 million shares in Microsoft valued at $874.32 million. This position represented 9.47% of its portfolio.

Healthcare-focused Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ:CERN) is another key equity bet. The investment firm owned 11.43 million shares in Cerner valued at $705.57 million. This position accounted for 7.64% of its portfolio.