Value added

Bill Thomason looks for fast-growing but inexpensive stocks

For Bill Thomason, value manager and contrarian, bad news for a stock means a buying opportunity.

Thomason, president and chief investment officer of Thomason Capital Management L.L.C. in San Francisco, searches for stocks with good growth prospects that have recently suffered “temporary glitches”-an earnings shortfall or unsuccessful product launch-leading other investors to sell their shares. These stocks could be revived by, say, a change in management or the sale of an unprofitable division. “I’m looking for growth-oriented stocks but at a value,” those that have the potential to grow 15% to 20% a year, says Thomason. He also searches for stocks that are inexpensive relative to their sectors.

Of course, with 60% of the $10 million Thomason Capital/SRI Equity Fund he manages invested in high-flying technology stocks, finding cheap stocks with tremendous growth potential is easy.

Thomason’s combination of gut instinct and fundamental analysis, aided by his healthy position in tech stocks, has helped boost his fund’s year-to-date return to 26.57% as of October 29.

Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GBLX) fits Thomason’s criteria. The stock of the Hamilton, Bermuda, provider of long distance and global Internet services has been hammered recently. He likes the Web hosting business GBLX will obtain as a result of its acquisition of Frontier Communications. Further, Global Crossing is building its main business-undersea communications cables-through acquisitions and strategic alliances in Latin America and Asia.
He also likes Informix Corp.

(Nasdaq: IFMX), a Menlo Park, California, provider of relational database management software for government and business. The company recently entered into a deal with Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) to provide software for its Linux operating system, a potential rival to Microsoft Corp.’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows’ OS.

Chiron Corp. (Nasdaq: CHIR), a biotechnology firm in Emeryville, California, is a riskier play, Thomason admits, since its fortunes rise and fall with how successful its new drugs are, which are in the early development stage. Still, the company could use its $1.5 billion in free cash flow to buy another biotech or pharmaceutical firm with drugs that are closer to hitting the market.

Thomason’s last two picks are in the financial services arena-both of which should benefit from the recently passed Financial Services Modernization Act. Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL), a Northbrook, Illinois, insurance firm, was recently hurt by hurricane- and disaster-related claims, but could either be an acquirer or takeover target. And Citigroup (NYSE: C), the New York City financial services giant, stands to benefit greatly from its acquisition of San Francisco investment bank Hambrecht & Quist Group, a powerhouse in underwriting high-flying technology and Internet stocks.

Thomason’s Temporarily Troubled Stocks

Company Exchange:Symbol

Price *

12-Month
Price Target

P/E on Projected 1999 Earnings

Est. 5-Yr.Annual EPS Growth

Why Stock Will Outperform

Allstate Corp.
NYSE: ALL

$28.06

$60

7.4 9.8% Insurance firm could become an acquirer or acquiree as industry consolidates more rapidly in the wake of financial services overhaul
Chiron Corp. Nasdaq:

Pages: 1 2
ACROSS THE WEB