Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) and ABIOMED (NASDAQ:ABMD) are both mid-cap medical companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, dividends, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations and risk.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

99.0% of Varian Medical Systems shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 91.1% of ABIOMED shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.9% of Varian Medical Systems shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 7.0% of ABIOMED shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Varian Medical Systems and ABIOMED, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Varian Medical Systems 2 5 3 0 2.10
ABIOMED 0 1 6 0 2.86

Varian Medical Systems presently has a consensus target price of $93.69, indicating a potential downside of 6.04%. ABIOMED has a consensus target price of $157.50, indicating a potential upside of 1.51%. Given ABIOMED’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe ABIOMED is more favorable than Varian Medical Systems.

Profitability

This table compares Varian Medical Systems and ABIOMED’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Varian Medical Systems 9.50% 24.70% 11.12%
ABIOMED 16.13% 13.03% 10.98%

Volatility and Risk

Varian Medical Systems has a beta of 0.61, indicating that its stock price is 39% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, ABIOMED has a beta of 0.2, indicating that its stock price is 80% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Varian Medical Systems and ABIOMED’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Varian Medical Systems $3.27 billion 2.80 $643.00 million $3.04 32.80
ABIOMED $474.78 million 14.35 $110.92 million $1.69 91.81

Varian Medical Systems has higher revenue and earnings than ABIOMED. Varian Medical Systems is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than ABIOMED, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc. is a manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy. The Company also has Varian Particle Therapy (VPT) and the operations of the Ginzton Technology Center (GTC). Its VPT business develops, designs, manufactures, sells and services products and systems for delivering proton therapy, another form of external beam radiotherapy using proton beams for the treatment of cancer. Its ProBeam system is capable of delivering intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) using pencil beam scanning technology. Its ProBeam Compact is a single room proton therapy product.

About ABIOMED

ABIOMED, Inc. is a provider of temporary percutaneous mechanical circulatory support devices. The Company offers care to heart failure patients. The Company operates in the segment of the research, development and sale of medical devices to assist or replace the pumping function of the failing heart. The Company develops, manufactures and markets products that are designed to enable the heart to rest, heal and recover by improving blood flow to the coronary arteries and end-organs and/or temporarily performing the pumping function of the heart. The Company’s product portfolio includes the Impella 2.5, Impella CP, Impella RP, Impella LD, Impella 5.0 and AB5000. The Company’s products are used in the cardiac catheterization lab (cath lab), by interventional cardiologists, the electrophysiology lab, the hybrid lab and in the heart surgery suite by heart surgeons.

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