Crop Genetics finally getting investors' attention Alliance with Du Pont cited in Hanover company's recent success on Wall Street.

December 31, 1991|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Evening Sun Staff

Long overlooked by Wall Street, Crop Genetics International appears to have finally won its day in the sun.

Cheered by a new alliance between Crop Genetics and chemical giant Du Pont, investors drove up the price of Crop Genetics stock from 4 3/4 to 10 1/4 in the last two sessions of trading.

It was an historic rise for the company,but it failed to match the record high of 15 1/2 the stock reached upon its issue in 1987.

More than 1.4 million shares traded yesterday, about the trading volume the stock experiences in an average four months.

"It's nice to have people recognize us. I hope they are recognizing us for what we are and what our technology is," said Joseph Kelly, chairman and CEO of the company.

Biotechnology stocks soared throughout much of the year, but the interest was concentrated on firms related to medicine.

Agricultural biotechnology failed to ignite the same excitement on Wall Street, Kelly said.

"Maybe this is catching up," he said.

The Hanover-based developer of genetically engineered pesticides announced Friday a partnership with chemical maker Du Pont to develop a new line of insecticides.

Du Pont will invest $3.75 million over two years in Crop Genetics, allowing it to research and manufacture insecticides made from viruses retrieved from dead insects. Du Pont will aid in research and handle field testing and marketing.

"A major factor Wall Street uses to judge companies is the company they keep," said George Dahlman, an analyst who follows Crop Genetics for Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood in Minneapolis.

Crop Genetics was also buoyed by the run-up in stocks generally, Dahlman said.

"I fully expect that Crop will have some profit-taking and settle back in the next few days," Dahlman said.

On Friday, the day of the Du Pont announcement, Crop Genetics stock rose from 4 3/4 to 7 3/4 . At one point yesterday the stock hit 12 3/4 . It had been as low as 3 in recent years.

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