Analyst calls GT Solar attractive target, shares shine

Dec 8 (Reuters) - GT Solar International SOLR.O shares rose 7 percent to their highest in three weeks, after Wunderlich Securities said the company's valuation may attract potential suitors.

“At current valuation ... an acquisition of GT Solar by almost any equipment firm would be immediately accretive even at twice the price,” analyst Theodore O’Neill, who rates the stock “buy,” said.

At 6.6, GT Solar has among the lowest price-to-earnings ratio in the solar sector, just ahead of JA Solar JASO.O, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

The Merrimack, New Hampshire-based firm also offers any buyer with two growth businesses, O’Neill said, referring to its solar and LED equipment divisions.

The analyst cited other semiconductor or solar equipment makers like Amtech Systems Inc ASYS.O, Applied Materials AMAT.O, BTU International BTUI.O and Novellus Systems NVLS.O as possible acquirers.

Pacific Crest Securities analysts said GT Solar’s LED equipment business should help it offset a slowdown in the photovoltaic segment.

“...We believe shares of GT Solar are undervalued...New announcements in the sapphire segment could push the stock higher, and we remain buyers,” analyst Weston Twigg said.

Shares of GT Solar have gained a quarter of their value since it bought sapphire maker Crystal Systems in late July. They were trading at a high of $8.42 on Wednesday morning on Nasadq.

The WilderHill Clean Energy index .ECO was up flat at 103.60.

(Reporting by Krishna N Das in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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