Bank Hapoalim reiterated its Buy rating for Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA), setting a price target of $78, 30% above market.

Analyst Rakefet Levison-Apter noted that Teva's results for the fourth quarter of 2001 showed substantially improved profitability compared with the parallel quarter in 2000. Profit growth beat expectations, especially the rise in gross profitability, she said.

The analyst noted the high volume of approvals that Teva has received from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and the significance of these approvals given expected strong growth in the American generic drug market. As a result Teva is at a new peak, the analyst said.

Levison-Apter expects that the series of recently launched products will contribute $150 million to sales in 2002.

Earnings per share are expected in 2002 to rise by about 10 cents due to goodwill amortization on acquisitions, and new U.S. accounting regulations, the analyst writes.

Levison-Apter adds that in 2002 Teva will begin reaping the fruits of the European launch of Copaxone. Sales of the relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treatment are expected to rise with the entry into this new market.

Bank Hapoalim estimates that net profit for the coming 12 months will be 1.5 times more than average growth in similar companies.

The bank estimates that the Teva can double sales by 2004 through internal growth, even without acquisitions.