Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Thursday, 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. “

MERC has been the subject of a number of other reports. BidaskClub raised shares of Mercer International from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, April 13th. Royal Bank of Canada raised their price target on shares of Mercer International from $15.00 to $18.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 19th. TD Securities raised their price target on shares of Mercer International from $17.00 to $18.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 19th. Finally, Raymond James reissued a strong-buy rating and set a $23.00 price target on shares of Mercer International in a research report on Friday, May 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $22.00.

MERC traded up $0.06 during trading on Thursday, reaching $15.43. 1,047 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 341,573. Mercer International has a 1 year low of $9.36 and a 1 year high of $19.14. The company has a current ratio of 3.98, a quick ratio of 2.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.68. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.01 billion, a PE ratio of 7.89 and a beta of 1.70.

Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.72 by $0.06. Mercer International had a net margin of 9.82% and a return on equity of 26.76%. The company had revenue of $484.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $476.87 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.82 EPS. Mercer International’s revenue for the quarter was up 31.6% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, analysts predict that Mercer International will post 2.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 3rd. Shareholders of record on Monday, June 24th will be given a dividend of $0.1375 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, June 21st. This is a positive change from Mercer International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. This represents a $0.55 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.56%. Mercer International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 25.51%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Opus Capital Group LLC grew its stake in shares of Mercer International by 2.4% during the 4th quarter. Opus Capital Group LLC now owns 166,411 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,738,000 after purchasing an additional 3,905 shares during the period. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Mercer International during the 4th quarter worth approximately $44,000. Bessemer Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Mercer International during the 4th quarter worth approximately $28,000. United Services Automobile Association grew its stake in shares of Mercer International by 24.4% during the 4th quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 20,962 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $219,000 after purchasing an additional 4,107 shares during the period. Finally, Walthausen & Co. LLC grew its stake in shares of Mercer International by 9.5% during the 4th quarter. Walthausen & Co. LLC now owns 895,199 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $9,346,000 after purchasing an additional 77,950 shares during the period. 78.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Mercer International

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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