A Real Stunner Of A Stock?

Investment pro Andy Lanyi, who has been scouring the batch of recent IPOs for small companies with significant stakes in niche businesses, thinks he's found a potential home run: Premier Anesthesia. A provider of anesthesiology services to 24 hospitals in 16 states, Premier "is growing rapidly and could become a factor in hospital services," says Lanyi.

The stock jumped quickly to 12 1/2 the day after the company went public at 11 on Mar. 4. It has eased to between 10 and 11 since then. The company has 75 anesthesiologists and some 60 "certified registered nurse anesthetists" under contract. In checking with some Premier customers, Lanyi found most hospitals need to strengthen their anesthesiology departments. Once they sign up with Premier, he says, the company takes over and streamlines operations, including billing and collection.

Demand for the services has been so strong, says Lanyi, that Premier reported record first-quarter revenues of $12.6 million, up 47% from last year, and earnings of $388,000, or 6 cents a share, up from 3 cents a year ago. For all of 1992, Lanyi figures the company will earn 35 cents a share vs. 14 cents a share last year. In 1993, Lanyi expects revenues to jump to $116 million from $70 million this year, with earnings rising to 65 cents a share. The stock is trading at a steep price-earnings ratio of 31, but analyst Barry King of Ladenburg Thalmann shows little concern. "With Premier's rapid growth, the high p-e isn't a worrisome factor," says King.

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