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2015 All-America Research Team: Autos & Auto Parts, No. 1: Rod Lache

Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank Securities extends his run at the top of this roster to a fourth year.

Rod Lache
Deutsche Bank Securities
First-Place Appearances: 4

Total Appearances: 13

Analyst Debut: 2003

Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank Securities extends his run at the top of this roster to a fourth year, winning investor loyalty with his “great industry insights and the best overall perspective,” as one fund manager says. Another backer hails Lache for being “ahead of the curve on advanced technologies.” For example, in August 2014 the researcher began reporting on Israel’s Mobileye, an application software developer of camera-based collision-avoidance systems to assist vehicle drivers. Management had taken the company’s shares public in New York earlier in the month, and he assigned them a buy rating, at $38.19. “The auto industry is on the verge of a massive push for active safety — cars will be equipped with artificial intelligence technologies that prevent vehicles from getting into accidents through features such as autonomous emergency braking,” explains the 45-year-old researcher. When the stock reached $56.60 in September 2014 — posting a 48.2 percent rally while U.S. autos and auto-parts makers slipped 1.5 percent — he shifted to a hold position, on valuation, though he maintained his view that Mobileye’s prospects over the long term should be bright. By early December it had tumbled 26.1 percent, to $41.81, and lagged the sector by 25.2 percentage points. Lache then upgraded his rating to buy, believing the shares were undervalued on a discounted-cash-flow basis and deeming Mobileye well-positioned to benefit from expansion of the nascent driver assistance technologies market, given its combination of accuracy, functionality and price. In September the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that ten vehicle manufacturers had committed to making autonomous emergency braking systems a standard feature on their new vehicles, prompting the analyst to reiterate his positive outlook and $72 price target. Mobileye closed at $48.51 in mid-month, up 16 percent and ahead of the sector by 24.6 percentage points. Lache — who covers 23 companies in this space from his base in Jacksonville, Florida — is “very client focused,” another admirer acknowledges, “keeping investors up to date on what he’s thinking at all times so there are no surprises.”

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