Concord Could Click with Polaroid

Rivalry in the fading film-camera business is fierce, and small-cap Concord Camera (LENS ) has been hit-hard. But some value players are betting big on a comeback: They think Concord is way oversold--down from 9.39 a share in March to 4.95 on Aug. 21--and they see huge promise in its recent licensing of the name Polaroid. "It's a big deal for Concord because it can compete directly with Kodak (EK ) and Fuji (FUJIY ), with its own camera carrying the Polaroid brand," says Gary Steiner of Awad Asset Management, which owns 12% of the shares. Concord has mostly been an outsourcer--supplying Eastman Kodak and Polaroid with single-use and other cameras. Other customers include Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ), Walgreen (WAG ), and Eckerd (JCP ). Steiner says Concord is selling a greater variety of products to Wal-Mart. Concord is talking to other outfits for private-label business, says Steiner, who sees the stock rising to 12 in a year.

Chris Quilty of Raymond James & Associates, which underwrote a secondary offering for Concord in 2000, says the Polaroid name gives Concord a "much-sought-after weapon to compete in low-end cameras." He figures the name could help Concord generate sales of $100 million over three years. Concord has talked with retailers and could start selling its own Polaroid brand by the end of September. He says Concord, which posted a loss in fiscal 2002 ended June 30, will recover--earning 15 cents a share in 2003 and 35 cents in 2004. The estimates don't include original-equipment business Concord might complete this year.

By Gene G. Marcial

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