Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.  TheStreet Ratings quantitative algorithm evaluates over 4,300 stocks on a daily basis by 32 different data factors and assigns a unique buy, sell, or hold recommendation on each stock.  Click here to learn more.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Universal (UVV) - Get Report has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from Hold to Buy with a ratings score of B-.  TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate UNIVERSAL CORP/VA (UVV) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • UNIVERSAL CORP/VA has improved earnings per share by 37.5% 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. During the past fiscal year, UNIVERSAL CORP/VA increased its bottom line by earning $5.25 versus $4.66 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Tobacco industry. The net income increased by 37.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $38.59 million to $53.04 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.36, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.10, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $352.12 million or 20.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, UNIVERSAL CORP/VA has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -56.40%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: UVV Ratings Report