Greif (NYSE:GEF) Raised to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Greif (NYSE:GEF) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $34.00 price objective on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Greif updated adjusted earnings per share guidance for fiscal 2019 at $3.70-$4.00. The mid-point of the guidance reflects growth of 7.8% in 2018. The outlook has been updated to include the impact of the acquired Caraustar business. Greif will benefit from its focus on acquisition, operational execution, capital discipline, and a strong and diverse product portfolio. In 2019, The company's restructuring activities will focus on rationalizing operations and close underperforming assets in the Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services and Flexible Products & Services segments. However, high debt following the acquisition remains a concern. The volume in Western and Central Europe also remained muted due to trade uncertainty, which is likely to continue in fiscal 2019.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. TheStreet cut shares of Greif from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a report on Friday, June 14th. Wells Fargo & Co set a $40.00 target price on shares of Greif and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Friday, June 7th. Finally, Bank of America set a $37.00 target price on shares of Greif and gave the company a sell rating in a report on Friday, June 7th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and three have issued a hold rating to the stock. Greif currently has a consensus rating of Sell and a consensus target price of $36.38.

Shares of GEF stock opened at $32.54 on Monday. Greif has a 12 month low of $29.85 and a 12 month high of $59.00. The stock has a market cap of $1.57 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.22, a P/E/G ratio of 0.99 and a beta of 1.35. The company has a current ratio of 1.67, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.51. The company has a 50 day simple moving average of $33.90 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $37.20.

Greif (NYSE:GEF) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, June 5th. The industrial products company reported $0.81 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.79 by $0.02. Greif had a net margin of 3.68% and a return on equity of 19.11%. The business had revenue of $1.21 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.24 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.76 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 25.3% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Greif will post 3.79 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, Director Mark A. Emkes acquired 1,190 shares of Greif stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 2nd. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $32.75 per share, with a total value of $38,972.50. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 31,532 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,032,673. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Lawrence A. Hilsheimer acquired 3,450 shares of Greif stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 5th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $33.76 per share, with a total value of $116,472.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief financial officer now owns 108,090 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,649,118.40. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have acquired 20,358 shares of company stock valued at $670,275. 13.56% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Greif by 3,152.7% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 609,681 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $25,149,000 after purchasing an additional 590,937 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Greif in the fourth quarter worth $18,997,000. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. increased its stake in shares of Greif by 15.5% in the second quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 487,760 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $15,877,000 after purchasing an additional 65,584 shares in the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Greif by 6.2% in the first quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 463,929 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $19,137,000 after purchasing an additional 27,036 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Investment Counselors of Maryland LLC increased its stake in shares of Greif by 1.2% in the second quarter. Investment Counselors of Maryland LLC now owns 437,349 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $14,236,000 after purchasing an additional 5,082 shares in the last quarter. 46.44% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Greif Company Profile

Greif, Inc produces and sells industrial packaging products and services worldwide. It operates through four segments: Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services; Paper Packaging & Services; Flexible Products & Services; and Land Management. The Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services segment offers rigid industrial packaging products, including steel, fiber, and plastic drums; rigid intermediate bulk containers; closure systems for industrial packaging products; transit protection products; water bottles, and remanufactured and reconditioned industrial containers; and services, such as container life cycle management, filling, logistics, warehousing, and other packaging services.

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