Why International Flavors & Fragrances Inc Smells Good in 2014

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc (NYSE: IFF  )  gained about 1% this morning after Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on the flavor and fragrance specialist with a buy rating.

So what: Along with the call, analyst Faiza Alwy planted a price target of $98 on the stock, representing about 15% worth of upside to yesterday's close. While contrarians might be turned off by IFF's steady climb over the past year, Alwy thinks there's plenty of room to run given the several operating trends -- both top- and bottom-line -- still working in its favor.

Now what: According to Deutsche, IFF's risk/reward trade-off is pretty attractive at this point. "IFF is well-positioned to achieve 4%-6% top line growth driven by (i) further EM penetration; (ii) health & wellness mega trend; (iii) proprietary flavor and fragrance technologies; and (iv) stabilization of fragrance ingredients segment," noted Alwy. "The introduction of specialized molecules through proven R&D acumen and the recent Aromor acquisition, along with cost innovation and favorable mix should drive sustainable margin expansion."

Given IFF's still-hefty debt load and not-so-cheapish P/E of 20, however, I'd wait for a wider margin of safety before betting on it.

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