NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of TECO Energy (TE) were jumping 11.4% to $20.70 on heavy trading volume Thursday following a report that the electric utility company is up for sale.

Online news service SparkSpread reported that the Tampa, Fl.-based utility company is up for sale Thursday afternoon.

In a statement TECO Energy confirmed that it is exploring strategic alternatives.

The company said, "Given the preliminary nature of this exploration, neither the company nor any of its representatives will be providing any additional comments at this time. No assurance can be given that the company will determine to pursue a potential sale or enter into any definitive sale agreement."

About 11.7 million shares of TECO Energy were traded by 3:32 p.m. following the report, well above the company's average trading volume of about 1.9 million shares a day.

TheStreet Ratings team rates TECO ENERGY INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate TECO ENERGY INC (TE) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 11.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • TECO ENERGY INC has improved earnings per share by 22.7% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, TECO ENERGY INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.92 versus $0.88 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.10 versus $0.92).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multi-Utilities industry. The net income increased by 15.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $50.10 million to $58.00 million.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that TE's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market, TECO ENERGY INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TE Ratings Report