Bank Hapoalim: Nice is back on growth track - TheStreet

Analysts of Bank Hapoalim believe that Israeli hi-tech company Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is on track to restore its growth.

The company continues to show improvements in its financial results, writes analyst Racheli Gershon, including in its first-quarter 2002 report. It also reported winning several significant contracts, she noted, and cuts in its operating costs. Its cash and inventory situation also changed for the better.

Gershon accordingly upgraded Nice from Hold to buy, and raised its target from $16.6 to $17.5, some 29% above its Nasdaq level.

For the second quarter, Gershon expects Nice to achieve revenues of $37 million to $39 million. Given the company's improved visibility, she wrote, she feels comfortable with her forecasts for 2002, of growth between 20% to 30% against 2001, and a return to profit in the second half of 2002.

The bank estimates 2002 sales of $157 million, 23.5% up from 2001, and a loss per share of 3 cents. She sees Nice improving its gross margins as the year wears on, and the company achieving operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Net profit could be attainable in the third quarter, she writes. For 2003, sales will reach $183 million, she calculates.