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Pritzker Bets Bigger On Dvi

Inside Wall Street


It's always reassuring for investors to see big shareholders fatten their stakes in a company they own stock in. That's what is alluring about DVI Health Services, a leading provider of financing for users and suppliers of sophisticated medical equipment. The Pritzker group, led by Chicago financier Jay Pritzker, recently raised its stake in DVI from 20% to 30%.

What's so special about DVI? One is that the company has close links with four of the six major suppliers of medical-imaging equipment, DVI's biggest source of business. The four manufacturers--Japan's Toshiba and Hitachi, the Netherlands' Philips, and Britain's Picker--depend on DVI to finance their customers, which include hospitals and outpatient medical centers. The two remaining makers are General Electric and Siemens, both of which provide financing to customers.

DVI has found "a niche business in the financing field, which has been very sound and profitable," says investment manager Ralph Wanger, of Wanger Asset Management, which owns a 5% stake. "DVI is the kind of stock we look for--a small-cap, growth-oriented company with stable management." The stock, trading on the Big Board at 9, is underpriced, he says.

Although the rise in interest rates has thrown many financing companies off course, says Wanger, DVI's business has continued to grow. New financing is up in the most recent quarter to about $60 million--more than for all of 1993. That's partly because of the acquisition of two companies in 1993. Wanger sees earnings rising to 70 cents a share in 1995, up from 33 cents this year.GENE G. MARCIAL

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