NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wausau Paper Corporation (NYSE: WPP) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.62, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 9.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
- WAUSAU PAPER CORP has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, WAUSAU PAPER CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.75 versus $0.42 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 65.3% in earnings ($0.26 versus $0.75).
- The share price of WAUSAU PAPER CORP has not done very well: it is down 8.90% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
- 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 Paper & Forest Products industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 60.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $13.16 million to $5.18 million.