Why Alere Shares Plunged

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Alere (NYS: ALR) , a manufacturer of patient diagnosis, monitoring, and health management products, dove 20% this morning after the company disclosed an ongoing investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.

So what: After the closing bell yesterday, Alere announced that the FDA is investigating the company's San Diego facility responsible for manufacturing triage products. Alere commented that it expects a resolution to the issue to involve a recall of unexpired triage products that do not meet the strict requirements of the quality control release method. Alere has already begun modifying its manufacturing procedures to regain compliance, but even it noted that a recall and the change in production method could affect revenue negatively in the near-term. Of the $69 million in sales generated by the triage product segment, $51 million is at risk according to the company.


Now what: Considering that Alere's revenue in the first quarter totaled $672.4 million, the $51 million at risk represents less than 8% of its total sales. Some might argue that an 8% risk to revenue shouldn't merit a 20% decrease in Alere's stock. Then again, anytime the FDA is investigating a company, you have to also factor in the intangible costs of negative PR and the added costs of regaining compliance with the aspect(s) that the FDA finds non-compliant. Today's move lower seems fair, and I'd wait until we have a definitive resolution before I moved on the stock either way.

Craving more input? Start by adding Alere to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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