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Needham Downgrades This Medical Equipment Stock Due To Lawsuit Risk

  • A Cook County jury awarded $363 million to a woman who developed breast cancer after living close to a medical device sterilization facility run by Sterigenics, a unit of Sotera Health Co (NASDAQ: SHC).

  • The lawsuit was related to ethylene oxide (EO) exposure, a disinfectant used to sterilize medical devices.

  • The trial was the first of many to come against the Willowbrook plant operators, with more than 760 lawsuits against it in Cook County Circuit Court for toxic emissions.

  • Needham expects concerns about Steris Plc's (NYSE: STE) potential EO liabilities to continue to weigh on its shares. The analyst downgraded the company's stock from Buy to Hold.

  • Steris is a medical equipment company specializing in sterilization and surgical products for the U.S. healthcare system.

  • Needham writes that while SHC is facing more than 1,000 EO lawsuits, STE only has a few. But the successful SHC lawsuit could lead to increased EO lawsuits.

  • STE's filings do not reveal the same degree of lawsuits as SHC. According to STE, while some lawsuits have been filed against an STE affiliate regarding a sterilization facility in Waukegan, IL, STE has not owned or operated that facility for years.

  • Price Action: SHC shares are down 1.96% at $7.27, and STE shares are down 5.04% at $167.84 on the last check Friday.

Latest Ratings for STE

Date

Firm

Action

From

To

Feb 2022

JMP Securities

Maintains

Market Outperform

Feb 2022

Needham

Maintains

Buy

Nov 2021

Stephens & Co.

Maintains

Overweight

View More Analyst Ratings for STE

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