U.S. Markets close in 42 mins

Albany Int'l shares get a boost from "Buy" rating

NEW YORK (AP) -- Albany International shares rose Thursday after a Stifel Nicolaus analyst initiated coverage of the company with a "Buy" rating.

THE SPARK: Stephen Levenson, who also set a $38 price target for the stock, said the company's engineered composites business appears poised for growth.

THE BIG PICTURE: Over the past several years, Albany has worked to restructure itself, shuttering plants and moving its headquarters from Albany, N.Y. to Rochester, N.H. The company sold off its Primaloft outerwear insulation operation and its industrial door business and used the cash to invest in its core businesses.

Albany is currently composed of two business segments, including the engineered composites business and its machine clothing operations. It has 18 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries and employs about 4,300 people, Levenson said.

THE ANALYSIS: Levenson said Albany's engineered composites business is the sole supplier for certain kinds of fan blades and cases used in the LEAP family of jet engines, which are being used to power many new models of single-aisle airplanes.

Meanwhile, the days of strong revenue growth for the company's machine clothing business are likely over, but as the top supplier in the paper industry, Levenson said he thinks it's possible that the business will be able to maintain healthy profitability levels with minimal future investment.

THE SHARES: Up 90 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $28.73 in morning trading, after peaking at $28.95 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the shares have traded between $14.74 and $30.10.

Since the beginning of this year, Albany shares are up about 23 percent.