A Sharper Picture With Flat Panels

Global investor Mikhail Filimonov, managing director at Hermes Capital Management, has his hands full overseeing 70 stocks in about 18 countries. Always in search of special situations, Filimonov found one close to home: Alpine Group. No, the company isn't a Swiss skiing outfit. It's a New York company whose chief attraction is PolyVision--a new flat-panel display technology that, says Filimonov, is much superior to liquid-crystal displays and other competing technology.

Alpine is engaged in other businesses, too, but PolyVision will be the big factor that will drive the stock up, says Filimonov. The flat-panel technology, which provides sharpness and contrast comparable to the printed page, can be produced on flexible plastic films--opening the door to entirely new uses that LCDs can't do, says Filimonov.

He's impressed by the decision of Alpine CEO Steve Elbaum to go after the "low-end market" for the technology first, such as appliance displays, watches, and the gauges and meters used in airplane cockpits and car dashboards.

Several large companies have formed joint ventures or licensing pacts with Alpine to develop PolyVision for their own use. McDonnell Douglas wants to use the technology in all its cockpits, and Ralston Purina intends to use it in battery testers and other products. Japan's Kyocera will use the panel display in a broad range of markets, and Monsanto wants to combine its own flexible printed-display technology with PolyVision.

Filimonov expects that Alpine, now at 63 4, will become profitable by 1995, earning about 35 a share. "We expect to double our money in the stock in a year," he says.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.