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Company spotlight: Keller


KELLER has suffered from a lack of interest, although this is improving with five analysts covering the stock - and having German investment bank DrKW as house broker must be beneficial.

Another broker, Altium, has a 'buy' rating up to a target price of 660p and is reviewing its full-year forecasts after the interims, having been too conservative. Keller's coverage is hampered by having no listed UK companies to judge the business against.

Keller's analysts resort to looking abroad with Trevi, the Italian outfit listed on the Milan exchange, and Bauer, the German foundations contractor that listed on the Deutsche Borse this summer.

As neither operates in the UK even this comparison is difficult but Keller's exposure to its native market is down to 13 per cent of the £450 million turnover for the first half of this year.

This business has been the subject of investment, including the £6 million acquisition of retaining wall specialist Phi in April this year, but Keller's focus is further afield.

A market leading position in Australia has been strengthened with a £9.6 million acquisition earlier this month.

With gearing of around 40 per cent and sufficient interest cover, Keller is in a good position despite worries over the US housing market.

This is wobbling but provides less than a third of turnover in North America, where margins are an impressive 7.6 per cent.

With other markets buoyant, albeit less so, and plenty of space for improvement in the UK, the stock is worth a look.