NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Willis Lease Finance Corporation (Nasdaq: WLFC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, solid stock price performance, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for WILLIS LEASE FINANCE CORP is currently very high, coming in at 74.20%. Regardless of WLFC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, WLFC's net profit margin of 12.40% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Trading Companies & Distributors industry average. The net income increased by 66.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.05 million to $5.06 million.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • WLFC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.

Willis Lease Finance Corporation, together its subsidiaries, provides aviation services. It leases spare commercial aircraft engines and aircraft to commercial airlines, aircraft engine manufacturers, and air cargo carriers, as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.9, equal to the average diversified services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Willis Lease Finance has a market cap of $116 million and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are up 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Willis Lease Finance Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

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