NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Imperial Sugar Company

(Nasdaq:

IPSU

) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally weak debt management and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Food Products industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 182.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$5.69 million to -$16.08 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Food Products industry and the overall market, IMPERIAL SUGAR CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$54.63 million or 601.86% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.25 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 49.07%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 181.25% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

Imperial Sugar Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as processor and marketer of refined sugar and related products in the United States. Imperial Sugar has a market cap of $81.2 million and is part of the

TheStreet Recommends

consumer goods

sector and

food & beverage

industry. Shares are down 50.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full

Imperial Sugar Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

investment research center

.

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