Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Univar (NYSE:UNVR) to Sell

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Univar (NYSE:UNVR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Saturday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have a $22.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 5.26% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates for Univar for the third quarter are stable over the past month. Univar should gain from its strategic acquisitions, especially Nexeo. It also remains focused on strengthening its USA business through expense management and productivity actions. Univar has also outperformed the industry year to date. However, weak demand from industrial end markets is expected to hurt its revenues and margins. Univar has lowered its profit guidance for 2019 factoring in lower-than-expected demand for chemicals and ingredients from industrial markets. Volumes in the company’s Canada segment is also expected to remain under pressure. Foreign currency translation headwinds are also likely to weigh on Univar's margins in 2019. Also, higher freight expenses are expected to keep margins in the company's USA segment under pressure.”

Separately, ValuEngine raised shares of Univar from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. Univar presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $25.00.

Shares of Univar stock opened at $20.90 on Friday. Univar has a 52-week low of $16.33 and a 52-week high of $27.78. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.82 and a beta of 1.59. The company has a fifty day moving average of $20.72 and a 200-day moving average of $21.19. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.76, a quick ratio of 1.17 and a current ratio of 1.75.

Univar (NYSE:UNVR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, August 5th. The basic materials company reported $0.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.44 by ($0.02). Univar had a net margin of 0.04% and a return on equity of 15.03%. The business had revenue of $2.58 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.83 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.47 EPS. Univar’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Univar will post 1.43 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Rhonda Germany Ballintyn purchased 4,878 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 8th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $20.64 per share, with a total value of $100,681.92. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 11,894 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $245,492.16. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, COO David Jukes purchased 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 7th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $19.44 per share, with a total value of $97,200.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 70,502 shares in the company, valued at $1,370,558.88. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have acquired a total of 18,196 shares of company stock valued at $361,075 in the last three months. 0.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in UNVR. FMR LLC boosted its position in Univar by 25.2% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,839,507 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $240,204,000 after buying an additional 2,183,111 shares during the period. Zimmer Partners LP boosted its position in Univar by 214.0% during the 2nd quarter. Zimmer Partners LP now owns 2,650,000 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $58,406,000 after buying an additional 1,806,100 shares during the period. Park West Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Univar by 181.1% during the 2nd quarter. Park West Asset Management LLC now owns 2,689,140 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $59,269,000 after buying an additional 1,732,640 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Univar by 10.6% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 13,121,946 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $289,207,000 after buying an additional 1,260,260 shares during the period. Finally, Marathon Asset Management LLP boosted its position in Univar by 92.1% during the 2nd quarter. Marathon Asset Management LLP now owns 1,448,183 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $31,920,000 after buying an additional 694,276 shares during the period.

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, and fertilizers; storage, packaging, and logistics services for crop protection companies; and pest control products and equipment.

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