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UBS downgrades Elbit Systems

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genisi   Thursday, 02/07/08 08:53:18 AM
Re: midastouch017 post# 417
Post # of 422 
UBS downgrades Elbit Systems

http://globes-online.com/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000307303&fid=942

"Elbit is currently trading at a premium to the sector."
Globes correspondent 7 Feb 08 11:24
UBS has cut its recommendation for defense company Elbit Systems (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) from "Buy" to "Neutral". Nevertheless, UBS analysts Darren Shaw and Roni Biron raise their price target for the stock from $51 to $63. This compares to a closing price in New York yesterday of $57.51, which gives the company a market cap of $2.42 billion.

Shaw and Biron say that , although Elbit shows rapid revenue growth, its profitability lags its sector, while its share is at a premium.

"Elbit is a fast-growing defence player, offering a wide range of electronic and electro-optic solutions. Over the past several years, the company has boosted its profile via M&A and strategic partnerships. This has translated into very strong deal-flow, including ‘high-profile projects such as Watchkeeper in the UK." Shaw and Biron write.

"We expect Elbit to end 2007 with nearly $2 billion in revenue, more than double its 2004 level. This reflects organic growth of about 20% in the past two years, coupled with M&A activity. Elbit’s order backlog has shown a similar trend, reaching a record level of $4.55 billion, or 2.3x 2007 estimated sales. We expect 2008 to reflect revenue growth in excess of 17% and an additional increase in backlog.

"While Elbit’s growth and visibility are at the higher end of the defence spectrum, its profitability is below average. We believe margins should improve over time on the back of operating leverage and efficiency gains. However, we expect integration costs, and currency exposure to weigh on profitability in the near term.

"We raise our price target to $63 from $51 but downgrade our rating to Neutral from Buy. Elbit is currently trading at a premium to the sector. While this is justified, in our view, given Elbit’s quality play on defence electronics, we believe the risk-reward is mostly priced in at current levels. Our price target is DCF based," the report concludes.

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