In High Gear At Noble

What's good for General Motors is good for well, Noble International (NIL), which supplies auto parts to Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and Honda, among others. The stock's performance is impressive, too: From 6 1/2 on Oct. 19, 1998, the stock climbed to 11 on Feb. 23.

What's Noble's secret? Nothing fancy--just robust sales and earnings growth. Revenues in 1998 rocketed 289%, to $94.8 million, and earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation zoomed more than 400%, to $15.3 million, up from just $2.8 million in 1997. Excluding a nonrecurring item, net income jumped to $4.3 million, or 61 cents a share, from $573,000, or 13 cents, in 1997.

In High Gear at Noble

Better numbers are due in 1999 and 2000, says Kurt Kammerer of BlueStone Capital Partners, a New York investment and merchant bank. He expects Noble to make $1.25 a share on sales of $148 million this year, and $1.50 a share on $167 million in 2000. A big part of the growth stems from acquisitions. Noble CEO Bob Skandalaris says acquisitions will continue, although the company is expected to internally generate growth of 20% to 30% in 1999. One goal over the next five years is to spin off one or two units to bring out Noble's real worth Kammerer says Noble could deliver 20% to 25% earnings growth a year over the next three years. His 12-month target for the stock: 20.

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