Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) to “Hold”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Mercer International Inc. owns and operates a diverse pulp and paper business in the southern German states of Saxony and Thuringia, in the former East Germany. The Company operates it’s pulp business primarily through its subsidiaries, Spezialpapierfabrik Blankenstein GmbH and Zellstof-und Papierfabrik Rosenthal GmbH & Co. KG , and conducts its paper business through another subsidiary, Dresden Papier GmbH. “

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. CIBC downgraded Mercer International from a sector outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, July 5th. BidaskClub upgraded Mercer International from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, September 12th. Raymond James restated an outperform rating and issued a $22.00 price objective on shares of Mercer International in a research note on Friday, August 2nd. Royal Bank of Canada downgraded Mercer International from an outperform rating to a sector perform rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $20.00 to $14.00 in a research note on Monday, August 5th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Mercer International from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, July 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $17.50.



Shares of NASDAQ:MERC opened at $12.80 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $860.40 million, a PE ratio of 5.83 and a beta of 1.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.58, a current ratio of 3.76 and a quick ratio of 2.47. The business has a fifty day moving average price of $11.96 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $13.87. Mercer International has a 1 year low of $9.36 and a 1 year high of $19.14.

Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $0.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.34 by ($0.18). The business had revenue of $425.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $484.77 million. Mercer International had a net margin of 8.96% and a return on equity of 24.49%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.26 EPS. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Mercer International will post 1.15 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 25th will be paid a $0.275 dividend. This represents a $1.10 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 8.59%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 24th. This is an increase from Mercer International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. Mercer International’s dividend payout ratio is 28.06%.

In other news, Director Martha A. M. Morfitt purchased 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 23rd. The shares were purchased at an average price of $11.00 per share, with a total value of $110,000.00. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 3.90% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. PVG Asset Management Corp purchased a new position in shares of Mercer International during the 2nd quarter valued at $178,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Mercer International during the 1st quarter valued at $187,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund purchased a new position in shares of Mercer International during the 1st quarter valued at $227,000. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC lifted its position in shares of Mercer International by 81.4% during the 1st quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 23,124 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $312,000 after buying an additional 10,375 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. lifted its position in shares of Mercer International by 19.1% during the 2nd quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. now owns 21,120 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $327,000 after buying an additional 3,380 shares during the last quarter. 79.81% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Mercer International Company Profile

Mercer International Inc, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells northern bleached softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp in the United States, Europe, Asia, and internationally. The company operates in two segments, Pulp and Wood Products. It produces NBSK pulp primarily from wood chips and pulp logs; carbon neutral or green energy using carbon-neutral bio-fuels, such as black liquor and wood waste; and tall oil for use as a chemical additive and green energy source.

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