Little-known Telkonet (TKO ) has patented technology that some pros say could make it a big Internet player: Its PlugPlus uses a building's existing wiring for high-speed Net access. "Our technology is in 100 hotels, including Ramada, Sheraton (HOT ), and Holiday Inn (WBR )," says co-CEO Ron Pickett.
PlugPlus is also in apartment houses in Florida, Illinois, and Louisiana. The U.S. military, says Pickett, is expected to soon sign up Telkonet to provide Net access for personnel on ships and at Army bases. Hotels pay monthly fees of $300 to $500 apiece, and buildings pay $6.75 per apartment. The user just plugs a laptop or PC into a Telkonet modem and then into an electrical outlet. One analyst figures Telkonet could earn 12 cents a share in 2005 on sales of $30 million. Tim Whyte of Sofaer Capital in London, which owns stock, says the company's technology has a wide range of other potential applications.
Since Telkonet has yet to make money, the shares, now at 3.82, aren't for the faint of heart. Imre Eszenyi, managing partner at Orchestra Financial Partners in London, which owns stock, says Telkonet could also have wide appeal in foreign markets where Web usage is high.
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.
By Gene G. Marcial