Rating Change #1

Virgin Media Inc ( VMED) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for VIRGIN MEDIA INC is rather high; currently it is at 60.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.40% trails the industry average.
  • VIRGIN MEDIA INC's earnings per share declined by 25.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VIRGIN MEDIA INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.37 versus -$0.80 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($108.96 versus $0.37).
  • VMED, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 10.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $356.01 million or 21.57% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
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Virgin Media Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides entertainment and communications services in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media has a market cap of $7.87 billion and is part of the services sector and media industry. Shares are up 38.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

For additional Investment Research check out our Ratings Research Center.

For all other upgrades and downgrades made by TheStreet Ratings Model today check out our upgrades and downgrades list.

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.
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TheStreet Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering equity and mutual fund ratings. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.

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