Charging The Batteries At Altair

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Altair nanotechnologies (ALTI ) (ALTI), a tiny outfit in the emerging nano market, has caught the eye of the likes of Alcoa (AA ) and Eli Lilly (LLY ). The big interest lately is in its rapid-charge, high-power NanoSafe battery packs. It has a three-year pact to supply its batteries to Phoenix Motorcars. One go-ahead sign: On Feb. 23, in connection with his new alternative-fuels policy, President Bush saw a demonstration of Phoenix' sport-utility truck, equipped with Altair's battery, along with four other vehicles. Altair uses nano-structured material for the negative electrode, which gives its batteries more power. At Alcoa, Altair provides batteries for its hybrid-electric delivery vans. And at Lilly, Altair helps make compounds to reduce kidney disease in cats and dogs. John Roy of WR Hambrecht, who rates the stock, now at 3.42, a buy, says 2007 orders from Phoenix alone could run up to $42 million. He upped his 2007 estimate from a loss on sales of $18.8 million to a profit of 8 cents a share on $32.9 million. Mark Harding of Maxim Group also has a buy based on Altair's pipeline.

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By Gene G. Marcial

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