Barron's Bottom Line: Strong cash flow will likely cover any backdating fines.
Sales and profit growth could push the stock to the 70s by 2008 -- a 30% premium.
Strickland, chief legal officer of United Health Group.
Summary: Despite a backdating options scandal backdrop, CEO Stephen Hemsley says United Health's (NYSE: UNH) innovative and diverse insurance, health care services and technology research businesses are well-positioned for a projected trillion in healthcare spending by 2015.In one filing, lawyers for the company insisted that Mc Guire, a doctor, had "no formal training or degrees in finance, accounting or law," and therefore didn't know that backdating was wrong.Documents unearthed as part of the case included a memo from Mc Guire defending the practice as far back as 1999 and emails from corporate officials who expressed alarm when they realized they hadn't yet stopped backdating options.Last year, UNH generated b of operating earnings on revenue of .7b.
Acquisitions and baby boomer revenue drivers like Ovations should help income grow 9%, to billion in 2007.The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that lawyers for the California Public Employee's Retirement System, the lead plaintiff in the case, have filed unsealed documents that may implicate current United Health CEO Stephen Helmsley.