July 19 (Bloomberg) -- IMI Plc, the U.K. manufacturer of soda dispensers and air conditioning equipment, rose to the highest in at least 25 years after Citigroup Inc named it one of its most preferred stocks.
’’We see further significant margin upside at IMI, driven by both mix and restructuring. A strong balance sheet and yield are both supportive, too,’’ said Mark Fielding, an analyst at Citi, in a note to investors.
IMI remains vulnerable to U.S. consumer spending for its beverage distribution and merchandising businesses, Fielding said. Exchange-rate movements are another major risk for the company, which has about 90 percent of its sales outside the U.K.
IMI rose as much as 3.1 percent to 1,411 pence in London, making it the top gainer today among FTSE 100 companies. The shares have gained about 49 percent since IMI joined the benchmark index in December 2010, Bloomberg data show.
The company offers a range of engineering services to companies in more than 50 countries and merchandise displays for retail stores.
IMI was founded by a Scottish Victorian entrepreneur in Birmingham in 1862. Today, the company is involved in energy efficiency, fluid controls and marketing solutions.
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