Research Frontiers (REFR) started the year on a high note: In February, Raytheon announced that the Beechcraft King Air aircraft would offer new electronic dimmable window shades using the company's SPD-SmartGlass technology. This lets glass go from clear to opaque fast, blocking out light, ultraviolet rays, and heat. But Robin Manners West, senior portfolio manager at New Mexico's State Investment Council, which owns shares, says the big bounce will come when REFR's major licensees, such as DuPont (DD), Air Products & Chemicals (APD), and Hitachi, sign up for the light-control technology. Hitachi (HIT) has committed to pay REFR for sure access to the latest developments in SmartGlass. The aircraft, auto, and architecture industries are expected to be its big users, says West, who sees REFR in the black in 18 months. She expects its stock, which has rocketed from 5 in January to 12.93 on July 17, to hit 35 in 18 months. No analysts follow REFR, but early big investors include Fidelity, BlackRock (BLK), Barclays Global Investors (BCS), and Carret Asset Management.
Note: 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