Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Axiall (NYSE: AXLL) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.
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- The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 46.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.64, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.29, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- Powered by its strong earnings growth of 164.10% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 36.00% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AXLL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- AXIALL CORP 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AXIALL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.44 versus $1.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.24 versus $3.44).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 434.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13.62 million to $72.80 million.