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March 28, 2010
05:55 EDTITT, ITTITT shares could rise to $68 over next 12 months, Barron's reports
Water is big business and getting bigger, given global worries about resource shortages and the environment. ITT (ITT), the worldwide leader in pumps, has the cash and techincal skill to be a major presence in the sector. Pumps aren't high-margin products, but ITT's position in that market reflects the company's aim of boosting its commercial operations, which generally are more profitable than those tied to the military. CEO, Steven Loranger is trying to parlay defense technologies into commercial applications, to tap into what he calls "a wonderful macroeconomic trend related to resource scarcity, environmental sustainability and aging infrastructure." If he succeeds in enriching his company's business mix, the stock price will kick into overdrive, predicts Nicholas Heymann, an analyst with Sterne Agee, who rates ITT a Buy. One of CEO Loranger's goals is to increase annual revenue to the range from $17B-$20B over the next five years, while boosting earnings 10% to 15% annually over that span. Some analysts have suggested that, to reach those results, the company will have to sell some defense units and buy more non-military businesses. ITT now is trading at about 12.9x the $4.06 that it is likely to earn this year. Should the P/E multiple return to its five-year average of 17x, the shares could surge 40%. And even a 15 multiple on next year's expected $4.50 in profit would get them near $68 in 12 to 18 months, says Don Wordell, who runs the Ridgeworth Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund. Wordell thinks that such multiple expansion is achievable, has been bolstering his ITT stake. Bottom-line: ITT's prospects seem rich; but its share price is anything but that. Reference Link
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