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Gas Natural Inc. Stock Downgraded (EGAS)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gas Natural (AMEX:EGAS) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.68, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.24 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • EGAS, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 8.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 22.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The share price of GAS NATURAL INC has not done very well: it is down 10.55% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • The gross profit margin for GAS NATURAL INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 9.40%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -5.00% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $3.86 million or 2.84% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

Gas Natural Inc. engages in the distribution and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.8, above the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 18.6 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Gas Natural has a market cap of $82 million and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 13.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Gas Natural Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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