As the electric-utility industry starts to consolidate, Trigen Energy (TGN) is staying small--and thriving. At this little-known provider of energy systems to companies and institutions, "business has been booming," says CEO Thomas Casten. Casten bought $1 million worth of the stock in the open market at the company's initial public offering in August, 1994, at 15 3/4.
Trigen's business has produced big results: Analysts see earnings jumping 32% this year, to $1.15 a share, on sales of $236 million. And in 1997, they foresee $1.30 on $250 million; in 1998, $1.70 on $265 million. Its stock climbed to 20 3/8 a share on Apr. 24, up from 16 in mid-November.
The stock should hit 30 in a year, estimates James Savage, an analyst at the New York investment firm Gerard Klauer Mattison. Trigen, he says, is the "most technologically sophisticated and best capitalized" independent community heating and cooling company in North America. Trigen provides steam and hot and/or chilled water to more than 1,500 business customers in such cities as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Tulsa. Last year, it signed up Coors Brewery complex in Golden, Colo. Trigen also serves the University of Pennsylvania.