NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Shares of Insituform Technologies Inc., which makes replacement pipes on site for sewer, drinking water, mining and energy systems, rose sharply Wednesday as an analyst initiated coverage and said the company can grow as aging sewage systems demand renovation.

THE SPARK: Wedbush Equity Research analyst David L. Rose initiated coverage of the company with a rating of "Outperform" and says the price could reach $34, more than 19 percent higher than Wednesday's trading price.

THE BIG PICTURE: Insituform and its competitors will have an opportunity to grow as infrastructure that's aging around the world increasingly needs repair.

THE ANALYSIS: Rose said Insituform has improved its profit margins, grown through acquisitions and improved its return on capital since hiring a new CEO in 2008. The company has particularly large opportunities in India and Southeast Asia, where it has more than $80 million in backlogged business. He also said the company's 2009 purchases of Bayou and Corrpro strengthened its foothold in the energy and mining industries.

Rose said Insituform has $98 million in cash and just $106 million in debt, making near-term growth even more likely.

SHARE ACTION: Up $1.83, or 6.9 percent, to $28.55.
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