Polypore Rallies, Seen as Likely Partner to Tesla

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Polypore (PPO)are climbing after an analyst upgraded the stock and predicted that the company would probably partner with Tesla (TSLA). Polypore develops membranes for lithium batteries.

WHAT'S NEW: Polypore is likely to team up with Tesla to manufacture membranes for the electric car maker's "gigafactory" battery plant, William Blair analyst Brian Drab wrote in a note to investors earlier today. After speaking with several industry sources, Drab stated that Polypore is the front-runner to supply Tesla with membranes, which would be used as separators for the electric car maker's batteries. Also contributing to the analyst's view that Tesla will choose Polypore are the low cost of Polypore's separators, its positive reputation, and its status as the only lithium battery separator in the U.S., where Tesla's factory will be located. Although it's difficult to estimate the revenue that Polypore would obtain from such a deal, Tesla could account for half of Polypore's revenue by 2020, the analyst estimated. Drab upgraded his rating on Polypore's stock to Outperform from Market Perform.

WHAT'S NOTABLE: On May 9, DA Davidson upgraded Polypore to Buy from Neutral, saying that the stock is unlikely to drop significantly, while the company could benefit over the long-term from the proliferation of electric vehicles. The firm raised its price target on the shares to $42 from $36.

PRICE ACTION: In mid-morning trading, Polypore jumped $1.34, or 3.2%, to $42.89.

 Reporting by Larry Ramer.

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