Align Technology: Dental patients using products made by Align Technology have been smiling for years. Align's Invisalign clear aligners are practically invisible and eliminate the need to wear awkward metal braces. The company's shareholders have been smiling, too: Align Technology stock has nearly quadrupled over the last five years.
But as a mid-cap stock, Align hasn't gotten the attention that larger stocks get. It deserves consideration from investors, though. Align has consistently grown revenue and earnings. The company has made some smart acquisitions -- especially the 2011 purchase of Cadent, which brought the iTero intraoral scanner into Align's product lineup.
Align has a clear pathway for future growth. The company already receives around 35% of its revenue from international sales. Further international expansion should drive sales and earnings higher, particularly in highly populated countries with growing middle classes like China and India.
Not every example of malocclusion (misalignment of teeth) is a fit for Invisalign right now. However, Align is working hard to change that by introducing new clear aligner versions that address more complex cases.
Align has also ventured into new territory by expanding beyond the Invisalign brand. The company forged a deal with SmileDirectClub in June 2016 to supply non-Invisalign clear aligners. SmileDirectClub ships aligners directly to customers' homes. Align gained a 17% equity stake in SmileDirectClub as part of the transaction.