At the beginning of the year, after Nanophase Technologies (Nasdaq: NANX ) reported that its year-over-year revenues from 2005 to 2006 had increased 32%, I suggested that the company was finally on solid ground and that it appeared primed for growth. Well, the market apparently disagreed and instead issued a big, collective yawn. Since late January, the stock has barely budged and is trading about where it began the year ($6.16).
This could be about to change. Yesterday, the company announced its highest quarterly revenue in company history after bringing in almost $2.9 million. This represents a jump of 45% over 2006's first-quarter figures. Unfortunately, this is the only number management reported, so we don't know how much it was able to improve from last year's Q1 loss of $0.09 per share, if at all.
The reason for my continued optimism, however, is that in addition to its established relationships with leading chemical companies such as BASF (NYSE: BF ) and Rohm & Haas (NYSE: ROH ) , Nanophase also continues to build on its portfolio of patents.
Last month, officials announced that the company had been awarded a new patent for "nanostructured compositions." In a nutshell, the patent describes how Nanophase's unique nano-sized particulate materials imbue a variety of coatings with enhanced optical properties. Among the applications for such technology might be transparent coatings for plastics, automotive coatings, and even windows.
This combination of potential new product applications, together with its existing relationships, leads me to believe that this quarter won't hold the company's record for highest revenues for long. In fact, I won't be surprised if the record falls this July when Nanophase reports its second-quarter earnings.
Now, I wouldn't expect the company's stock to grow at a torrid rate, but after languishing below its original IPO price of $8 for the better part of past 10 years, I continue to stand by my earlier prognostication -- the stock appears poised to gradually increase.
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Jack Uldrich is the author of two books on nanotechnology, including Investing in Nanotechnology: Think Small, Win Big. He does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this article.