NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walter Energy (WLT) shares are down -4.4% to $4.89 on Monday following reports that new U.S. emissions standards is forcing energy companies to reduce pollutants while looking for coal from the Illinois basin, according to a Bloomberg report.
Coal from the Illinois basin has a higher sulfur content and is therefore cheaper than coal from other regions. New EPA rules that forced coal plants to install sulfur dioxide removing scrubbers have made the cheaper coal more attractive.
Sales of Illinois basin coal reached their highest mark since 1990 last year while sales of Appalachian coal, the kind that Walter Energy mines, dipped.
Illinois basin coal's share of U.S. production is expected to rise to 20% by 2040 from its current level of 13%, according to the Energy Information Administration.
TheStreet Ratings team rates WALTER ENERGY INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate WALTER ENERGY INC (WLT) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow, generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- 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 Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 338.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$34.49 million to -$151.39 million.
- The gross profit margin for WALTER ENERGY INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 5.48%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -40.01% is significantly below that of the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$74.40 million or 1481.59% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 5.20 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, WLT's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.10, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.
- Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 60.57%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 323.63% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: WLT Ratings Report
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