-- Heritage Financial Group



) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 27.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 42.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • HERITAGE FINANCIAL GP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HERITAGE FINANCIAL GP INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.17 versus -$0.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.50 versus $0.17).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry. The net income increased by 493.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$0.44 million to $1.74 million.
  • The gross profit margin for HERITAGE FINANCIAL GP INC is currently very high, coming in at 73.40%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 12.40% is above that of the industry average.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, HERITAGE FINANCIAL GP INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.

Heritage Financial Group, Inc. operates as the holding company for HeritageBank of the South that provides retail and commercial banking services in southwest Georgia and north central Florida. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.2, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 26.6 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Heritage Financial Group has a market cap of $97.3 million and is part of the


sector and


industry. Shares are down 5.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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