West Pharmaceutical downgraded to neutral at UBS; shares slip

(Thomson Financial via COMTEX) -- WST news PowerRating PR Charts -- Shares of West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. continued to slip Friday after the Lionville, Pa.-based manufacturer of medical instruments was downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS, which said the recent run-up in the stock's price has left the shares with 3.1% upside potential relative to the firm's $45 price target.

However, UBS said the company is positioned well to benefit from significant barriers to entry in its core businesses as well as strong industry tailwinds, a diverse customer base, and an increasing global presence.

"Following ongoing capacity expansions, we model revenue growth will rebound to high single-digits starting in late 2008," the broker said. "In addition, we expect a positive mix shift towards higher margin products to drive operating margin expansion in the longer-term."
West Pharmaceutical will hold an analyst day on March 13 in New York City and UBS expects management to provide an update on the company's growth strategy and key drivers for 2008 and beyond.

The stock fell 4.3% to $41.75 on volume of 234,000 shares, or roughly half the issue's 30-day average volume of 462,000 shares.

Source : www.tradingmarkets.com

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