Inside Wall Street
BEAMING IN ON A LASER WIZARD
For a little company whose stock is selling at less than 2, Lasertechnics has mighty big friends: J.P. Morgan has taken a 23% stake, worth $5 million, in the Albuquerque maker of laser systems for imaging printers and product markers. And investment adviser James D. Wolfensohn Inc., headed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, has acquired 20%. Government-owned Singapore Technologies Industrial is another believer: It invested $1 million, for nearly 5% of the stock.
Why such enormous faith in Lasertechnics? The company has yet to make a penny, although it posted sales of $8 million last year. "But we see revenues soaring to $16 million and the beginning of profitable operations by the end of 1994," says Richard Morgan, a general partner at Wolfensohn who has joined Lasertechnics' board.
Lasertechnics has two major businesses: Sandia Imaging System manufactures laser printers that produce photo-IDs and other cards coded with information the company says is tamper-proof and fraud-resistant. The second is a laser-coding business whose chief product is Blazer 6000, a pulsed-gas laser used in marking products and packages. It prints at faster than 1,800 marks a minute. Among the first to use Blazer 6000 was Anheuser-Busch, which has installed it in 13 breweries. The printers have found their way to China, where five units have been ordered to make IDs for schools and hospitals, says Morgan.
One Los Angeles money manager says the stock could triple in a year. One reason: Polaroid and Xerox may be interested in Lasertechnics. Sandia already has an alliance with Xerox to make a digital image recorder that accepts Xerox' new Verde film. "If Lasertechnics continues to click, Polaroid and Xerox may fight over the company," says this pro.