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A Brand New Bag For A Packager?


Inside Wall Street

A BRAND NEW BAG FOR A PACKAGER?

A lot of the takeover action these days is centered on the entertainment industry. But now the prosaic packaging arena is starting to perk up with some takeover deals. So far the pros are eyeballing specialty packagers such as Gibraltar Packaging Group. This Charlotte (N.C.) designer and maker of customized packaging products, including folding cartons, specialty laminated boxes, and tubular paperboard packaging, has seen its stock rise to 93 4 from 51 2 in March.

One New York money manager notes that Engraph, a specialty packager, was recently acquired by Sonoco Products for $300 million. He believes Gibraltar is likely to be the next target. Based on that acquisition, says this pro, Gibraltar is worth twice its current price.

Analyst Lee Wilder at Robinson-Humphrey in Atlanta agrees that Gibraltar, whose sales have doubled to $51 million last year from $25 million in 1991, deserves a higher valuation even without the allure of a takeover. The company's two recent acquisitions, she figures, will boost revenues in the year ending June 30, 1994, to $90 million. "Earnings momentum is firming, and solid earnings growth is probable in 1994," says Wilder. She now believes that her earnings estimates of 80 a share in fiscal 1994 and $1.05 in 1995 are "conservative."GENE G. MARCIAL


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