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Markets | WALL ST. ROUNDUP

Ameron's Stock Price Jumps 23%

March 31, 2006|Tom Petruno | Times Staff Writer

A sudden wave of buying has driven shares of Pasadena-based Ameron International Corp. up 23% in recent days to record highs.

The stock, relatively few shares of which typically trade each day, soared $8.42, or 13.5%, on Wednesday and gained $3.53, or 5%, to an all-time high of $74.41 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Trading volume was 122,200 shares on Wednesday and 156,600 on Thursday, compared with a daily average of 31,800 in the previous seven sessions.

The company, which manufactures industrial and infrastructure goods such as steel and concrete piping, was asked by the NYSE on Wednesday to issue a public statement as to whether there were any developments to explain the "unusual activity" in the stock. The NYSE often requests such statements when share prices surge or plunge without obvious cause.

The exchange said Ameron replied that its policy was not to comment on unusual activity in its stock. Company executives did not return a reporter's calls on Thursday.

Ameron, which had sales of about $700 million in fiscal 2005, has benefited from increasing investment in infrastructure projects such as sewer pipelines. Its products also include oilfield piping, street-light poles and industrial coatings.

Michael Spohn, an analyst who follows the company for Rochdale Securities in New York, said it was possible that Ameron could attract a suitor, given the interest on Wall Street in companies that are benefiting from greater infrastructure spending worldwide.

"The longer-term trend in some of their businesses looks pretty solid," Spohn said.

Still, he said, there had been no chatter in the market about a potential takeover offer.

Ameron's stock market value is about $650 million.

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