Top Source Gets Tuned In

Overhead radio speakers and oil analyzers: They don't sound like stunning breakthroughs. But they are--at least for Top Source Technologies (TPS), whose shares have spurted from 5 1/2 to 7 3/4 in four months. Three years ago, the stock was at 2 1/2.

Top Source's overhead speakers are a success in Chrysler's Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler. In addition, Top Source has filed a patent for a front overhead-mounted system with shock-absorbing materials. This would eliminate the need for speakers on the dashboard and doors.

The company's on-site oil analyzer provides refineries, chemical plants, or vehicle-fleet operators a scientific breakdown of a sample from an engine or transmission. The analysis measures contaminants, such as metal debris, coolant, and unburned fuel. "Our analyzer helps clients to improve fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions," says Chairman Stuart Landow. "Interest in the analyzer among refiners has been strong." So far, two multinational oil companies have leased the analyzers, for which they pay a fee of $10 per test. But Landow would not identify the companies.

One pro says analyzers will go this month to two other clients: an oil company, said to be Texaco, and a dealer for Cummins Engine. "These new orders confirm the efficacy of the analyzers as well as the potential demand for them," he says.

Revenues are flowing from the speakers. This year, the oil analyzers are expected to kick in, too. After years in the red, Top Source will report a profit in the year ending Sept. 30, 1996, says Jonathan Garriss of Hampshire Securities. He sees earnings of 11 cents a share in fiscal 1996 and 56 cents in 1997, vs. an 8 cents loss this year.