Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Univar (UNVR) to “Hold”

Univar (NYSE:UNVR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates for Univar for the fourth quarter and full-year 2018 have been stable of late. Univar should gain from its strategic acquisitions and continuous market expansion actions. It also remains focused on strengthening its USA business through expense management and productivity actions. However, a sluggish start to the agricultural season in Canada is impacting Univar’s margins. Moreover, rising fuel costs, driver shortages and higher rates from carriers are putting pressure on its freight expenses. The company's high debt level is another concern. Foreign currency translation headwinds are also likely to dampen fourth-quarter growth. Moreover, the company has underperformed the industry it belongs to over the past three months.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Berenberg Bank set a $27.00 target price on shares of Univar and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, November 23rd. Wells Fargo & Co set a $27.00 target price on shares of Univar and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 7th. Deutsche Bank reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $35.00 target price on shares of Univar in a research note on Friday, September 21st. Vertical Research raised shares of Univar from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 3rd. Finally, TheStreet cut shares of Univar from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 4th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $29.20.

UNVR stock opened at $19.57 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $2.78 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.08, a PEG ratio of 0.93 and a beta of 1.46. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.07, a current ratio of 1.77 and a quick ratio of 1.14. Univar has a one year low of $16.33 and a one year high of $31.84.

Univar (NYSE:UNVR) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, November 6th. The basic materials company reported $0.40 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.42 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $2.13 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.18 billion. Univar had a return on equity of 19.82% and a net margin of 2.30%. The firm’s revenue was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.36 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Univar will post 1.61 EPS for the current year.

In related news, insider Stephen D. Newlin acquired 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $23.02 per share, with a total value of $69,060.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Christopher D. Pappas acquired 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $23.11 per share, with a total value of $231,100.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired a total of 14,500 shares of company stock valued at $335,095 over the last ninety days. 0.55% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in UNVR. Baupost Group LLC MA purchased a new stake in shares of Univar during the 3rd quarter valued at $54,302,000. American Century Companies Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Univar during the 3rd quarter valued at $50,565,000. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT grew its stake in shares of Univar by 23.9% during the 3rd quarter. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT now owns 8,450,836 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $259,103,000 after buying an additional 1,628,591 shares during the period. Park Presidio Capital LLC grew its stake in shares of Univar by 2,228.4% during the 3rd quarter. Park Presidio Capital LLC now owns 1,500,000 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $45,990,000 after buying an additional 1,435,578 shares during the period. Finally, Millennium Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Univar by 113.0% during the 2nd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,576,688 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $41,372,000 after buying an additional 836,522 shares during the period. 93.66% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Univar

Univar Inc distributes commodity and specialty chemical products, and related services worldwide. It offers herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, seeds, micro and macro nutrients, horticultural products, fertilizers, and feeds; storage, packaging, and logistics services for crop protection companies, storing chemicals, feed-grade materials, and seed and equipment parties; and pest control products and equipment.

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