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Align vs. SmileDirectClub: Where 2 clear aligner companies stand in 2022

Align Technology and SmileDirectClub are some of the largest dental technology companies in the industry, with clear aligners representing much of the two companies' business. 

Here is where the two companies stand so far in 2022:

Align Technology

Align Technology finished 2021 earning $4 billion in total-year revenue with expectations to see a 20 percent to 30 percent growth in revenue in 2022. During the first quarter of 2022, the company made  $973.2 million, $809.7 million of which came from its clear aligner segment. It also reported 598,800 Invisalign cases during the first quarter. 

In March, Align added cone beam computed tomography to its ClinCheck digital treatment planning software, which can help doctors expand diagnosis and treat more cases using Invisalign clear aligners. It will be scaled in phases across Align's customer population during the second half of 2022.

Align most recently entered an agreement with Citibank to repurchase $200 million of its common stock as part of its ongoing $1 billion stock repurchase program. Align had about 78.7 million shares outstanding and $1.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31. The transaction is expected to be completed around July 26 and will be funded with Align's cash on hand. The company's CEO, Joe Hogan, also plans to purchase $2 million of Align's common stock.

SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub reported declines in fourth quarter and total annual revenue at the end of 2021; however, it saw a 20.1 percent increase in revenue during the first quarter of 2022, bringing in $152 million. It also experienced a net loss of $73 million, $22 million less than both the fourth quarter of 2021's and the prior-year period's losses. The company reported 76,254 clear aligner shipments, a 15.3 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2021.

SmileDirectClub has launched several products and initiatives to encourage growth. The company introduced its stain barrier gel, the Pro Whitening System Plus, dissolving whitening strips and a wireless teeth-whitening kit. In January, it announced it was halting operations in Mexico, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand to support growth initiatives that produce the highest return on investment. It will instead focus its efforts on the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, Ireland and the U.K.

In April, SmileDirectClub completed a $255 million secured debt facility for its SmilePay subsidiary. It entered into a loan agreement with HPS Investment Partners with a 42-month secured delayed-draw term loan facility. It is secured with interest in SmilePay's assets, which the company said April 28 consist of certain receivables, cash, intellectual property and related assets.

David Katzman, CEO and chair of SmileDirectClub, said the company is optimistic about its 2022 performance with its physician partner network and celebrity collaborations. The company expects to bring in $600 to $650 million in total revenue in 2022.

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