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Tuning In to RF Monolithics

Little-known RF Monolithics (RFMI), a maker of radio parts, could become a highflier. So says Casey Stern of investment boutique Fagenson, which bought the stock at 2 in mid-March. It has since bolted to 3.60, and Casey sees it at 10 in a year. He expects RF to turn a profit in 2003 (before a noncash charge of $3.7 million). RF supplies filters and transceivers to Sirius Satellite Radio, helping listeners tune in to stations anywhere in the U.S. via satellite. RF has shipped 1 million filters to Sirius (each radio needs four). Sirius expects 300,000 users by yearend, up from 70,000 now. Products are also being designed for XM Satellite Radio, which may have 1.2 million subscribers in 2004, says RF Chief Financial Officer Buddy Barnes. RF parts filter out frequencies to get clearer sound from satellites, says Barnes. Sales in 2003 will just match last year's $43 million because RF got out of unprofitable businesses, he says, but 2004 results are expected to improve. Another RF product: a wireless component for cars that monitors tire pressure and temperature. It already sold $2 million worth year to date. Barnes expects sales to double in 2004. In the wake of tire-related accidents, Congress has passed a bill making tire monitors mandatory on new cars by November, 2003.

Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial

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