UniFirst Corp (UNF) Expected to Post Earnings of $1.52 Per Share

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Wall Street brokerages forecast that UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) will report $1.52 earnings per share for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Two analysts have provided estimates for UniFirst’s earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $1.56 and the lowest is $1.47. UniFirst reported earnings of $1.38 per share during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year over year growth rate of 10.1%. The business is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings report on Wednesday, March 27th.

On average, analysts expect that UniFirst will report full-year earnings of $6.94 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.84 to $7.09. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the company will report earnings of $7.38 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $7.08 to $7.58. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that that provide coverage for UniFirst.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 3rd. The textile maker reported $1.88 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.92 by ($0.04). The firm had revenue of $438.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $433.21 million. UniFirst had a return on equity of 8.69% and a net margin of 9.44%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.67 EPS.

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on UNF shares. ValuEngine cut shares of UniFirst from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, January 4th. Robert W. Baird decreased their price target on shares of UniFirst from $170.00 to $152.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, January 4th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of UniFirst from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, January 19th.

In related news, major shareholder The Ronald D. Croatti Trust – 1 sold 2,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.57, for a total value of $329,054.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP Michael A. Croatti sold 323 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $135.10, for a total transaction of $43,637.30. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 5,650 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $763,315. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 14,220 shares of company stock valued at $1,995,955 over the last quarter. 1.00% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in UNF. KBC Group NV purchased a new position in UniFirst in the fourth quarter worth $55,000. LS Investment Advisors LLC grew its position in UniFirst by 95.8% in the fourth quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 836 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $120,000 after acquiring an additional 409 shares in the last quarter. Quantamental Technologies LLC purchased a new position in UniFirst in the fourth quarter worth $143,000. Ramsey Quantitative Systems purchased a new position in UniFirst in the fourth quarter worth $245,000. Finally, Laurion Capital Management LP purchased a new position in UniFirst in the third quarter worth $251,000. Institutional investors own 80.68% of the company’s stock.

UniFirst stock opened at $141.73 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.70 billion, a PE ratio of 19.02 and a beta of 0.67. UniFirst has a fifty-two week low of $132.38 and a fifty-two week high of $193.05.

UniFirst declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, January 3rd that permits the company to repurchase $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the textile maker to buy up to 3.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 8th will be issued a $0.1125 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 7th. This represents a $0.45 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.32%. UniFirst’s payout ratio is currently 6.04%.

About UniFirst

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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