NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ameris Bancorp (Nasdaq: ABCB) 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 solid stock price performance. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- ABCB's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 21.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- AMERIS BANCORP 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AMERIS BANCORP continued to lose money by earning -$0.40 versus -$3.20 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.33 versus -$0.40).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 1935.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$0.90 million to $16.46 million.
- The gross profit margin for AMERIS BANCORP is rather high; currently it is at 65.10%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 39.50% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
- Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.