UniFirst (UNF) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “UniFirst Corporation has become an industry leader and remains one of the fastest growing companies in the Uniform and Textile Services business. Its business is the rental Lease and Sale of work clothing, uniforms, protective apparel, careerwear, and facility service products to businesses in virtually all industrial categories. The major portion of the Company’s business is Uniform Rental Service Programs, wherein it provides customers with all necessary products plus weekly cleaning, maintenance, and any needed replacements of work clothing. The Company became the first private industrial launderer to be granted a government license to process nuclear-contaminated garments. The Company has developed a separate division, UniTech Services Group, which now includes specialized plants throughout the United States and in Europe. UniFirst is a national leader in cleaning and decontaminating the garments worn by workers who maintain and refuel nuclear power and nuclear processing equipment. “

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UNF has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Robert W. Baird boosted their price objective on shares of UniFirst from $183.00 to $198.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, June 28th. Barrington Research restated a hold rating on shares of UniFirst in a report on Friday, June 29th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. UniFirst has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $203.00.

Shares of UNF traded up $0.75 on Wednesday, reaching $187.20. 49,281 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 66,489. The company has a market cap of $3.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.45, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.00 and a beta of 0.61. UniFirst has a 12 month low of $135.95 and a 12 month high of $193.05.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 27th. The textile maker reported $1.58 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.56 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $427.38 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $420.45 million. UniFirst had a net margin of 7.45% and a return on equity of 8.21%. UniFirst’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.19 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that UniFirst will post 6.23 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 28th. Investors of record on Friday, September 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.1125 per share. This represents a $0.45 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.24%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 6th. UniFirst’s dividend payout ratio is currently 8.52%.

In related news, Director Michael Iandoli sold 594 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $187.24, for a total transaction of $111,220.56. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 5,732 shares in the company, valued at $1,073,259.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Cecelia Levenstein sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $186.34, for a total transaction of $465,850.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 121,308 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $22,604,532.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 14,161 shares of company stock valued at $2,594,236. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Point72 Asia Hong Kong Ltd acquired a new position in UniFirst during the first quarter valued at approximately $118,000. Verition Fund Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of UniFirst in the first quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC acquired a new position in shares of UniFirst in the first quarter valued at approximately $236,000. Sei Investments Co. boosted its holdings in shares of UniFirst by 24.7% in the first quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 1,519 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $245,000 after buying an additional 301 shares during the period. Finally, Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB acquired a new position in shares of UniFirst in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $293,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.78% of the company’s stock.

UniFirst Company Profile

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It operates through US Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. The company designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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