NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- An analysis of highly-rated large and mid-cap investment companies by TheStreet Ratings highlights some solid picks - including two dividend plays -- among a group that is not universally loved by analysts.

The following 12 U.S. investment companies have market capitalizations of at least $1 billion and are rated B-minus (Buy) or higher by TheStreet Ratings. Most have grown their revenue over the past year, in-line with the overall market recovery. The group is in ascending order and by upside potential based on the median price target among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

12. Ares Capital

Company Profile

Ares Capital ( ARCC) of New York is a private equity firm that focuses on middle market companies in manufacturing, business services, consumer products, healthcare and IT. Shares closed at $16.45 Tuesday, for a total return of 34% over the previous year. Based on a quarterly payout of 35 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 8.51%.

Income Statement

For the second quarter, Ares Capital reported $330.2 million in net income, or $1.73 a share, rising from $34.8 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier, and reflecting the acquisition of Allied Capital Corporation in April, for which Ares recorded a gain of $195.9 million.

Second-quarter net investment income after taxes was $49.5 million, rising from $31.9 million in the second quarter of 2009.

The company is scheduled to announce its third-quarter results on November 4.

Balance Sheet

Ares Capital's balance sheet nearly doubled in size from the Allied Capital acquisition, to $4.1 billion as of June 30. The fair value of the investment portfolio was $3.8 billion, and had 71% concentrated in debt securities.

The company's ratio of debt to capital, based on second-quarter financials, was 0.31, which doesn't include debt-to-capital ratio is $200 million in senior unsecured 30-year notes the company issued on October 15, with a coupon of 7.75%.

Stock Ratios

Shares trade for 11 times the consensus 2011 earnings estimate of $1.49 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Analyst Ratings

Out of 15 analysts covering the Ares Capital, 11 rate the shares a buy, three have hold ratings and one analyst recommends investors sell the shares.

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