CVS Health (CVS 0.13%) may seem like a safe and perhaps even boring stock to own. While most consumers may know it as a pharmacy retailer, its business has become much broader over the years. And with the recent moves it has been making, this has the potential to become a behemoth in the healthcare industry. Could investing in the company help you become a millionaire?
There’s plenty of growth potential out there for the business
In addition to pharmacy retail, CVS is in pharmacy benefits management, and health insurance, and with its two most recently announced acquisitions involving Signify Health and Oak Street Health, it may soon be able to add home health and primary care to that list as well.
CVS has been evolving its operations so that its stores are more than just regular pharmacies. The company has been transforming them into “HealthHUBs” where people can obtain health services, including treatment for common illnesses and chronic conditions like diabetes. By expanding into primary care, the company may be able to expand the offerings at its stores even further, perhaps following in the footsteps of rival Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is launching clinics at its stores.
While there could be plenty of competition in the healthcare industry in the future if large companies such as Amazon and Walmart decide to expand further into it, the advantage CVS has is its name and trusted brand.
The business has become much more prominent in healthcare through acquisitions (most notably, Aetna in 2018), and that has led to soaring revenue growth for CVS in recent years. And with the company still pursuing acquisitions, this trend isn’t likely to end just yet.
CVS is an undervalued stock today
The benefit of buying CVS stock right now is that it’s trading around its 52-week low. Acquisitions can often send a stock price down, even if it is a long-term play that could pay off. The $10.6 billion it is spending on Oak Street Health certainly isn’t a cheap price since the business is unprofitable. But it could lead to synergies and growth in the long run, which could make it a worthwhile investment for CVS.
Trading at less than 10 times its future earnings (based on analyst expectations) and only 1.5 times book value, an argument can be made that CVS is undervalued. By comparison, the average healthcare stock trades at 17 times its projected future profits and more than 4 times its book value.
Given its size and leading position in the healthcare industry, CVS is a much safer buy and should trade at better multiples than it does today.
Can CVS help make you a millionaire?
Over the past 10 years, an investment in CVS would have doubled in value when including its dividend. That lags behind the S&P 500, which during that stretch has achieved total returns (including dividends) of 218%.
While those returns aren’t encouraging for CVS investors, in the future, the stock could perform much better. Not only are its operations more diverse, but the U.S. population is getting older, and the need for healthcare is going to be much more significant than it has been in the past. And CVS will be in a prime position to capitalize on that.
For those reasons, the stock certainly has the potential to be a millionaire-making investment. If it can average total returns of 13% over the next 25 years, an investment in CVS would be worth 21 times what it is today. Based on that, you would need to invest around $48,000 to get to $1 million — assuming that rate of growth and a 25-year holding period. By no means is it a guarantee, but investing in CVS can help make you a millionaire.
However, if that’s too big of a lump sum for you to invest in a single stock, you may want to consider investing in healthcare-focused exchange-traded funds, which can offer greater diversification.
John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon.com and Walmart. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.