UniFirst Corp (UNF) Expected to Post Earnings of $1.70 Per Share

Equities research analysts forecast that UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) will post earnings per share (EPS) of $1.70 for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two analysts have provided estimates for UniFirst’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $1.65 to $1.74. UniFirst posted earnings per share of $1.58 in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 7.6%. The company is expected to report its next earnings results on Wednesday, June 26th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that UniFirst will report full year earnings of $7.86 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $7.80 to $7.92. For the next year, analysts anticipate that the business will post earnings of $7.56 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $7.17 to $7.94. Zacks’ EPS calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow UniFirst.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, March 27th. The textile maker reported $1.67 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.52 by $0.15. UniFirst had a return on equity of 8.89% and a net margin of 8.73%. The company had revenue of $437.50 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $434.90 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.38 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on the company. Robert W. Baird reduced their price objective on UniFirst from $170.00 to $152.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, January 4th. Zacks Investment Research cut UniFirst from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 6th. Finally, ValuEngine cut UniFirst from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, January 4th.

Shares of NYSE UNF opened at $155.78 on Friday. UniFirst has a twelve month low of $132.38 and a twelve month high of $193.05. The company has a market capitalization of $2.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.91 and a beta of 0.68.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 7th will be paid a $0.1125 dividend. This represents a $0.45 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.29%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 6th. UniFirst’s dividend payout ratio is currently 6.04%.

UniFirst declared that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Thursday, January 3rd that authorizes the company to repurchase $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the textile maker to reacquire up to 3.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, VP Michael A. Croatti sold 532 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $156.35, for a total value of $83,178.20. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 5,651 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $883,533.85. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, major shareholder The Ronald D. Croatti Trust – 1 sold 5,583 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $154.71, for a total value of $863,745.93. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 22,036 shares of company stock worth $3,217,188. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State of Alaska Department of Revenue increased its holdings in shares of UniFirst by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 5,169 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $739,000 after purchasing an additional 90 shares during the period. Comerica Bank increased its holdings in shares of UniFirst by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 15,185 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $2,059,000 after purchasing an additional 99 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. increased its holdings in shares of UniFirst by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 3,668 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $525,000 after purchasing an additional 117 shares during the period. Amalgamated Bank increased its holdings in shares of UniFirst by 6.3% in the fourth quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 2,198 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $314,000 after purchasing an additional 130 shares during the period. Finally, NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc acquired a new position in shares of UniFirst in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $28,000. 77.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About UniFirst

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It 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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