COMPANIES TO WATCH
By RICHARD S. TEITELBAUM

(FORTUNE Magazine) – TODHUNTER Holiday spirits run strong at Todhunter: 189 proof strong. The company, in West Palm Beach, Florida, makes high-octane ingredients that liquor producers blend with everything from whiskey to blueberry brandy. Because alcohol consumption is declining, Heublein, Seagram, Brown-Forman, and others are trying hard to cut costs, and Todhunter's sauces are among the least expensive around. Cheap, abundant oranges are Todhunter's key ingredient. A pipeline from a nearby Minute Maid orange juice plant feeds residue into the company's plant in Auburndale, Florida. There it is distilled into ''citrus brandy'' -- a potent brew of almost tasteless alcohol with a 189-proof wallop. Makers of flavored brandies buy it as a base for their hootch. Todhunter also uses the low-cost orange byproduct to make fortified ''citrus wine,'' which is blended into liqueurs as well as into Canadian and American whiskeys. CEO A. Kenneth Pincourt Jr. says using the same residue for brandy and wine enables the company to undercut the producers of inexpensive grape wine by 50% a gallon. Better still, citrus wine -- because it is wine -- incurs federal excise taxes that are 70% lower than the taxes on grain- based spirits that distillers might otherwise blend into their products. Liquor makers who use Todhunter's citrus wine often cut costs further by substituting more and more wine for pricier ingredients -- lifting the percentage in a Canadian whiskey from, say, 3% up to 10%. As one company lowers costs, others find it judicious to follow. Analyst Bonnie Wittenburg of Dain Bosworth says that copycat effect should help lift Todhunter's fiscal 1993 net income 45% to $4 million, on a 17% rise in sales to $72 million. The company went public in October at $6 per share. Its stock traded recently at $7.63, or eight times Wittenburg's estimate of 1993 earnings per share. Todhunter markets its own line of bargain booze in the South -- Stalingrad vodka is one brand -- and supplies chains like Walgreen and Albertson's with private labels. Taken straight, the company's brands can be rough, but in a Bloody Mary, Stalingrad is hard to tell from a premium vodka.

SALICK HEALTH CARE Salick Health Care operates nine outpatient cancer centers for big-name hospitals like Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and Temple University Medical Center in Philadelphia. Unlike other centers, Salick provides one-stop cancer care -- from diagnosis to radiation to psychotherapy -- under one roof, 24 hours a day. Salick administrators take care of paperwork and hire nurses and technicians, while a high-profile director oversees medical issues. The centers try to use oncological talent from the hospitals, so patients are assured of receiving first-rate service, and hospital doctors don't feel that their jobs are threatened. By helping patients avoid expensive long-term hospital stays, the centers can shave 20% or more off the cost of a one-year treatment. Says analyst Joel M. Ray of Kidder Peabody & Co.: ''It's a win-win situation for everyone.'' Ray expects net income at the Los Angeles company to climb 37% in fiscal 1993 to $9.5 million on a 23% increase in sales to $117 million. The stock traded recently at $13.50, or 13 times Ray's 1993 earnings- per-share estimate.

ARTISTIC GREETINGS Personalized stamps and address labels from Artistic Greetings can help make Yuletide writer's cramp a thing of the past. This year the mail-order company in Elmira, New York, will ship more than five million orders of its labels, which come in peel-off, lick-'em, and ink-stamp varieties. Chairman Stuart Komer has set about expanding Artistic's breadth of wares to over 500 other personalized items, including money clips, bathrobes, and stationery. Says he: ''Once you buy labels from us, we sell you everything else.'' Filling personalized orders takes time, but Artistic moves fast. After receiving an order, the company takes just five working days to ship it out. A five-person R&D staff tinkers constantly to develop new contraptions and processes that boost efficiency. For example, Artistic uses bar-code technology to computerize typesetting, thus reducing errors. To promote its products, the company blankets the masses with a steady stream of inserts, coupons, catalogues, and other advertisements. Maximum marketing efficiency comes from knowing which items to feature in the different advertising mediums; a catalogue is more effective than coupons for pitching personalized golf-club tags. Analyst E. Gray Glass III of Wheat First Securities expects net income to grow 38% in 1993 to $4.5 million on a 23% rise in sales to $85 million. The stock traded recently at $7.86, or 11 times his estimate of 1993 per-share earnings. Artistic Greetings has begun marketing in Britain; Komer says France and Germany are next.