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Baird Raises Genlyte Rating

Genlyte Group (GLYT) won a key court ruling in an asbestos-liability case. Baird upgraded the shares to outperform from neutral.

Analyst Craig Kennison says Genlyte has been exposed to asbestos claims relating to Keene (its former sister company). He says a federal district court of New York ruling brings some closure to the case, which was initially filed in 1993, in which the plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $700 million. Kennison notes an appeal does seem likely, but the ruling lessens litigation risk and effectively removes a significant overhang in the stock. Despite consistent EPS growth, Genlyte trades at discount to peers,notes Kennison. He says the company is his best idea in the lighting fixture group. The analyst sees $3.03 2003 EPS, rising to $3.15 in 2004. He has a $40 target price on the shares.

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