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Fewer Negatives With This Camera?


Inside Wall Street

FEWER NEGATIVES WITH THIS CAMERA?

Investor Jack Silver had wild forecasts for Concord Camera (LENS) two years ago: He predicted that fiscal 1995 earnings would boil up to 70 cents a share, en sales of $100 million, and that the stock, then at 6, would double in a year. Today, the stock is at 4, and Concord posted a 1994 loss of 9 cents on sales of $54.8 million. Fiscal 1995 was its third year of red ink. So has Silver bailed out? Not quite. He has upped his stake from 5% to 7.6%.

This time, though, Silver may be a winner. Whispers are that Concord will sign agreements with 3M and Germany's Agfa-Gevaert, a maker of photo equipment. These deals would double Concord sales of disposable or single-use cameras, which the two companies will market under their own names. The two contracts combined are valued at $25 million, figures one insider.

"That's quite a big deal for Concord, whose sales from single-use cameras last year were just $27 million," says a New York money manager. Next year, sales of single-use cameras are expected to rise to $35 million. Total sales (without adjusting for the 3M and Agfa contracts) are estimated at $75 million.

"Sales very possibly will hit $100 million by fiscal 1996," says the pro, who figures Concord will finally be in the black, earning 65 cents to 70 cents a share. Concord now has 20% of the market for single-use cameras, and Eastman Kodak has 50%. The company aims to boost sales of the high-margin disposables to 50% from 35% of total sales.BY GENE G. MARCIAL


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