Sonoco (SON) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sonoco (NYSE:SON) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Thursday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $58.00 price target on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “For full-year 2018, Sonoco expects its adjusted earnings per share will be $3.22-$3.32, reflecting a downward revision in the expected effective tax rate and anticipated earnings accretion from the Highland Packaging acquisition. Compared with the earnings per share in 2017, the mid-point of the guidance reflects year-over-year growth of 17%. For second-quarter 2018, the company projects adjusted earnings per share of 83-89 cents, reflecting 100% year-over-year growth at the mid-point. Sonoco is poised to gain from the Highland Packaging acquisition which will strengthen its thermoforming business. Further, its Grow and Optimize strategy will also aid growth. Moreover, the stock has outperformed the industry over the past month.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on SON. TheStreet cut shares of Sonoco from a b rating to a c+ rating in a research note on Friday, February 16th. UBS assumed coverage on shares of Sonoco in a research note on Friday, April 13th. They set a buy rating and a $55.00 price target for the company. KeyCorp reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Sonoco in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. Vertical Research cut shares of Sonoco from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, April 20th. Finally, Bank of America downgraded Sonoco from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $59.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, April 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. Sonoco has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $54.29.

Shares of Sonoco opened at $51.82 on Thursday, according to Marketbeat. The company has a market cap of $5.15 billion, a PE ratio of 18.57, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.37 and a beta of 1.12. Sonoco has a twelve month low of $46.55 and a twelve month high of $55.77. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a current ratio of 1.61 and a quick ratio of 1.16.

Sonoco (NYSE:SON) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 15th. The industrial products company reported $0.72 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.73 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $1.30 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.27 billion. Sonoco had a return on equity of 17.02% and a net margin of 3.79%. Sonoco’s revenue was up 13.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.62 earnings per share. sell-side analysts expect that Sonoco will post 3.29 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 11th will be issued a $0.41 dividend. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.16%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 10th. This is an increase from Sonoco’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. Sonoco’s dividend payout ratio is presently 58.78%.

In other news, SVP R. Howard Coker sold 4,777 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total value of $248,404.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 173,311 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,012,172. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Rodger D. Fuller sold 13,974 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, April 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.05, for a total value of $713,372.70. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 72,174 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,684,482.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 23,632 shares of company stock valued at $1,219,525. 1.70% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Sonoco by 0.5% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,807,162 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $574,293,000 after buying an additional 50,184 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. lifted its holdings in Sonoco by 23.5% during the 1st quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 3,169,523 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $153,722,000 after purchasing an additional 603,889 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in Sonoco by 0.6% during the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,372,193 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $72,919,000 after purchasing an additional 8,231 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its holdings in Sonoco by 1.9% during the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,365,734 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $66,238,000 after purchasing an additional 24,904 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in Sonoco by 2.6% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 840,649 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $44,672,000 after purchasing an additional 21,272 shares during the last quarter. 72.34% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Sonoco

Sonoco Products Company manufactures and sells industrial and consumer packaging products in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company operates through four segments: Consumer Packaging, Display and Packaging, Paper and Industrial Converted Products, and Protective Solutions. The Consumer Packaging segment offers composite and thermoformed plastic round and shaped rigid containers and trays; extruded and injection-molded plastic products; printed flexible packaging products; brand artwork management; and metal and peelable membrane ends and closures.

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