Matthew Pearson, analyst for Investec General Bank, has repeated his Buy recommendation for


(Nasdaq:ORBK), and has set the stock's target price at $80, a 110% increase from its opening price on Nasdaq. Pearson notes that Orbotech's exposure to the current negative sentiment in the electronic manufacturers market is limited.

The analyst says Orbotec's core product, which is an automatic optical monitoring control unit (AOI), will continue to sell well as demand remains high from the Far East. Since the beginning of 2001, the company has sold a record number of units, despite an overall drop in industry demand during the 3rd quarter of last year. Pearson believes that Orbotec's AOI unit represents a significant growth opportunity for the company.

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Pearson forecasts a 30%-40% rise in demand in the AOI systems sector in the long term, as more electronics firms outsource the manufacture of their products.

The analyst also believes that Orbotech's growing sales figures and its wide variety of clients will help ensure its longterm success. At present, no one client is responsible for more than 5% of Orbotech's sales. This not only ensures a certain cash flow, but also reduces Orbotech's dependency on a single client or market.

Pearson predicts that Orbotech's revenues for 2000 will total $367 million, up 32% when compared with 1999. EPS for 2000 is predicted to reach $2.36. In 2001, Pearson believes that the company's revenues will grow 31% to $481 million, and its EPS will reach $3.09.