Frontier Communications (FTR) Upgraded at DA Davidson

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Frontier Communications (FTR) are higher by 4.36% to $5.39 in mid-morning trading on Wednesday, following a ratings upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at DA Davidson.

The firm set a $6.50 price target on the stock.

DA Davidson said the communications company's recent offer of $750 million in equity and $1.75 billion in mandatory convertible preferred stock has removed an overhang.

"The equity has a green shoe of $75 million and the convertible preferred stock has a green shoe of $175 million. Proceeds from the offering, along with debt financing to come later, will finance FTR's purchase of access lines from Verizon (VZ) in FL, TX, and CA that is expected to close in [the first half of 2016]," the firm said in an analyst note.

"We believe the high short interest could lead to a short covering following the deal. While CT was weak in Q1, we expect continued improvement throughout the year and still see the Verizon deal as favorable, despite a lower share price," the firm added.

Frontier Communications is a Stamford, CT.-based communications company that provides services mainly in rural areas and small to medium sized towns and cities in the U.S.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP (FTR) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed-some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • 40.92% is the gross profit margin for FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of FTR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FTR's net profit margin of -3.71% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Stable earnings per share over the past two years indicate the company has managed its earnings and share float. We anticipate this stability to falter in the coming year and, in turn, the company to deliver lower earnings per share than the prior full year. During the past fiscal year, FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.13 versus $0.12 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 7.7% in earnings ($0.12 versus $0.13).
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $249.00 million or 20.41% 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.
  • The share price of FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP has not done very well: it is down 13.11% 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, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FTR Ratings Report

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