R.W. Baird raised its investment opinion on Ionics (ION) to outperform from neutral.
Analyst Richard Eastman says he tweaked his 2004 earnings per share estimate from 65 cents to 68 cents to account for various recent events, including: the purchase of Ecolochem, expansion of Trinidad, recent cost initiatives, and expectations for an Algeria desalination project. Eastman says Ionics remains a turnaround in progress, but believes intrinsic value of the franchise will become increasingly evident over the next four quarters. He has a $31 12-month price target, 9 times his 2005 EBITDA forecast of of $101.2 million, adjusted for net debt. The analyst feels this is a reasonable valuation, contingent on management's ability to deliver enhanced profitability.