BEST OF THE BROKERS

KESA ELECTRICALS
Nomura rates the Comet-owner as “neutral” with a target price of 120p, saying the ongoing disposal of the Comet unit will remove uncertainty from the group and offer valuation upside. The broker sees the key benefits of disposal as the freeing up of around €70-80m of working capital, the removal of over €20m of earnings before interest and tax losses, and the reduction in future capital expenditure and management time.

LAIRD
UBS upgrades the electrical components manufacturer to “buy” with a target price of 160p, seeing long-term growth potential for most of Laird’s end-markets remaining healthy, particularly in smartphones, tablets and telematics. To de-risk numbers, the broker lowers forecasts by 3-17 per cent for 2011/12 earnings to embody a “grey sky” cyclical decline in 2012. UBS forecasts a five per cent decline in revenue in 2012, and earnings per share of 14.8p.

ABB
Deutsche Bank rates the power and automation technology group as a “buy” with a target price of SwF23, forecasting orders of $10bn, revenue of $9.7bn and earnings before interest and tax of $1.3bn. Last week’s announcement by the Obama administration that $9bn of investment will be fast-tracked into the US power grid suggests a potential uplift to annual spend of 20 per cent over five years.