Higher Bids At Greg Manning Auctions

By Gene G. Marcial

A Meteoric Rise
Greg Manning auctions (GMAI ) deals in rare coins, stamps, and other collectibles, but its stock -- which has no Street following -- is also a rarity: It rocketed from 2.10 last June to 16.19 on Apr. 14. With operations in Berlin, Hong Kong, Madrid, New York, Zurich, and on the Internet, Manning's sales have soared on rising demand.

Despite the stock's meteoric climb, it's still undervalued, says Mark Rice, who runs Rice Opportunity Fund. He notes Manning hit 27 in early 2000, when the business was still in the red. In 2003, it earned 22 cents a share on sales of $101 million. Ivan Sacks of First Dallas Securities, whose clients own shares, sees 2004 earnings of 50 cents on $175 million. For 2005, he expects 74 cents on $230 million. Manning's fast growth, says Sacks, should fetch a price-earnings ratio of 30, implying a stock price of 22.

Manning and its Spanish partner, Afinsa Bienes Tangibles, which owns 70% of Manning, plan to set up shop in China, where stamp collecting is hot. In two years, China could generate multimillion-dollar sales, says an investor close to Manning. Michael Borgen of Navellier Aggressive Micro-Cap Portfolio, which owns shares, is impressed with Manning's "rapid growth and fat margins."

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

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