Breathing Easier At Viasys Healthcare

Stead Inflation
With homeland security a top priority for federal, state, and local governments, the Street is scouting for companies that stand to benefit from disaster planning. Viasys Healthcare (VAS ) (VAS), which provides devices such as ventilators for people with respiratory ailments, is the top pick of Christopher Warren of Janney Montgomery Scott. He rates it a "buy," partly because of the rising demand for emergency gear, which he sees driving up sales by 25% annually, starting in 2007. California and New York, he says, are big potential markets. Spun off by Thermo Electron (TMO ) in 2001, Viasys has been growing through acquisitions. "Our strong balance sheet has allowed us to do acquisitions and, at the same time, pay off debt," says CEO Randy Thurman, who expects Viasys to be debt-free by yearend 2006. Another bull, Arnold Kaufman of Brean Murray Carrett, expects Viasys to earn $1.30 a share in 2006 and $1.58 in 2007, vs. 97 cents in 2005. He figures the stock, now at 27.13, will rise to 35 in a year.

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

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