Despite the semiconductor industry's sudden fall from grace in the eyes of the stock market, BankAmerica Corp.'s bond research director sees great opportunities in the sector.
Alison L. Falls, senior managing director of corporate bond research at BankAmerica's securities unit, said it intends to strengthen its focus on the energy and semiconductor industries.
Fluctuation in semiconductor stocks stems from the industry's decelerating growth rate, Ms. Falls said. These companies' cash flow has been "relatively stable," however, because they can delay or change capital expenditures during economic downturns, she said.
"It is cash flow coverage that a bondholder looks to," Ms. Falls said, noting that the industry's global revenues had leaped from $55 billion in 1990 to $155 billion in 1995.
Ms. Falls plans to concentrate on BBB and crossover credit analysis. Crossover companies' debt ratings are moving from investment grade to noninvestment grade. BankAmerica also will specialize in asset-backed securities.
She said she intends to bolster her staff of eight with two analysts in banking-finance and energy. Long-range goals, she said, include covering bonds issued in the United States by companies based elsewhere - known as the Yankee bond market - starting with the Asia-Pacific region.
In the last 18 months, the BankAmerica unit, BA Securities, has been co- leader of more than 50 issues for industrial and financial companies, including BankAmerica itself, Norwest Financial, Provident Bank, and Ralston-Purina Co.
Ms. Falls joined BA Securities in 1994 after 15 years at Continental Bank Corp., which BankAmerica acquired two years ago. She reports to Robert Slaymaker, the unit's chairman, president, and CEO.