Ameris Bancorp Stock Upgraded (ABCB)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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 compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 18.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $2.11 million to $2.50 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 2769.32% to $17.30 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AMERIS BANCORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 10.52%.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERIS BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 72.90%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.00% trails the industry average.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 44.64% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, ABCB has outperformed against the industry average of 16.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
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Ameris Bancorp operates as the holding company for the Ameris Bank, which provides a range of banking services to retail and commercial customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.5, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Ameris has a market cap of $302.7 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 23.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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