For quite a while, skeptics had expected American Banknote (ABN) to go under, having been in the red for two years. Its stock had languished at around 11/2 a share--until June this year, when it suddenly came alive, rising above 4. The stock has since dropped to 33/4. No matter. Some investors have been buying: They're betting the stock will double in 6 to 12 months.

There are two reasons for optimism. First, says a San Francisco money manager, is expectation that Banknote, which makes antifraud and anticounterfeit products, will earn a profit this year. The second: Banknote is expected to sign a sales contract with a consortium of Japanese companies.

Banknote leads in holographic devices for credit cards. Japan wants its technology for cards used in Pachinko, a popular pinball-type game in Japan. Chairman Morris Weissman won't say whether a contract is imminent. If a deal comes through, though, he says the prospects will be tremendous. He notes that there are 18,000 Pachinko parlors in Japan. Winners are rewarded with a ``win card.'' Weissman says that ``about 100 million to 200 million win cards are issued each year.'' He says the technology is being tested by Japanese banks and brokerages.

The company expects a large contract from an Australian agency that could bring in revenues of $20 million to $30 million initially. The San Francisco money manager figures the company will make 25 cents a share this year and 40 cents to 50 cents next year.



Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.
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