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A Photo Enlargement

BusinessWeek Investor -- Inside Wall Street

A Photo Enlargement

Some big investors' excitement over Concord Camera (LENS) goes way beyond the solid earnings it posted on Aug. 26. Here's why these pros are accumulating shares: Concord is poised to make a digital camera, said to be co-developed with Hewlett-Packard, and will also introduce a "digital image-capture" product that can transmit pictures to a cell phone. The latter is being co-developed, says one pro, with a major European wireless-phone company.

The digital camera, which sources say will carry the HP name, uses a chip to deliver images to a PC or directly to a printer. One reason for HP's interest in a digital camera, says one money manager, is the windfall it could bring to its printer and ink business. Concord's other product (digital image-capture camera) uses radio waves to transmit to cell phones--or to the Net.

The new products will catapult Concord from a camera maker to a technology company, says Ulysses Yannas, an analyst at investment firm Mercer, Bokert, Buckman & Reid. The digital camera, he figures, will help nearly double Concord's earnings, to $1.10 a share in the year ending June 30, 2000, on projected sales of $135 million. In fiscal 2001, Yannas expects earnings of $1.40 a share on sales of at least $175 million. Yannas thinks Concord, now at 7 3/8, is way undervalued: Trading at just 6.3 times estimated 2000 earnings, the stock is worth 21, he says.

Concord is the largest publicly traded manufacturer of disposable cameras in the world, supplying Eastman Kodak, Polaroid, Bayer's Agfa-Gevaert subsidiary, and Mattel's Fisher-Price unit. It is also a big private-label supplier to Wal-Mart Stores, Kmart, and Sears. Concord CEO Ira Lampert says manufacturing deals with other noncamera companies are in the works.By Gene G. MarcialReturn to top

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