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Ibis Is Soaring

BusinessWeek Investor -- Inside Wall Street

Ibis Is Soaring

Hedge fund manager Jeffrey Puglisi is hot: Puglisi Capital Partners chalked up a 451% gain in 1999. This year, the fund is up 80%. Puglisi's forte is technology. And he continues to be bullish on techs, despite their recent sell-off. The less known and more arcane the technology, the more Puglisi hankers after it. This year, despite market volatility, Puglisi's picks have boomed: LSI Logic is up 91%, 79%, and Scientific-Atlanta 86%.

His top bet for 2000: Ibis Technology (IBIS), which makes what Puglisi and others say is a "revolutionary" semiconductor chip that runs at higher speed, lower voltage, and with less power. Ibis is the leading supplier of Ibis 1000 equipment that makes silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. Early Ibis customers include IBM, Motorola, and Mitsubishi. IBM is "on a very aggressive plan to convert its microprocessor products to Ibis' SOI wafer," says analyst Michael O'Brien of SoundView Technology Group. He sees Ibis selling 10 machines in 2001.

IBM has bought five Ibis machines, while Motorola and Mitsubishi have each purchased one. "They are also buyers of Ibis' SOI wafers," adds Puglisi. Other chipmakers that are buyers of Ibis wafers include Advanced Micro Devices, National Semiconductor, and Fujitsu. Giant chipmaker Intel is said to be testing the Ibis product.

No wonder Ibis' stock was also a huge winner in 1999, zooming 402%. Ibis is up more than 60% so far this year, and closed at 108 3/4 a share on Mar. 22. Puglisi sees Ibis doubling in a year. Soundview's O'Brien figures Ibis will earn 13 cents a share in 2000, on revenues of $26.5 million, and 81 cents in 2001, on sales of $58.2 million.By Gene G. MarcialReturn to top

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