SunOpta (STKL) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL) (TSE:SOY) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food, supplements and health and beauty markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector. “

Several other brokerages also recently commented on STKL. Citigroup reduced their target price on shares of SunOpta from $10.00 to $9.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, November 20th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of SunOpta from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. SunOpta has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $8.88.

Shares of SunOpta (STKL) traded down $0.15 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $8.55. 215,100 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 250,417. SunOpta has a 52 week low of $6.00 and a 52 week high of $10.20. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 1.32 and a quick ratio of 0.45. The firm has a market cap of $741.75, a P/E ratio of -12.76 and a beta of 1.65.

SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL) (TSE:SOY) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The company reported ($0.02) EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.02 by ($0.04). SunOpta had a negative net margin of 3.99% and a negative return on equity of 2.98%. The firm had revenue of $320.71 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $335.68 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.07 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that SunOpta will post -0.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, major shareholder Oaktree Huntington Investment purchased 644,540 shares of SunOpta stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $7.50 per share, for a total transaction of $4,834,050.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Richard Dean Hollis purchased 10,000 shares of SunOpta stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 10th. The shares were bought at an average price of $7.65 per share, for a total transaction of $76,500.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 73,745 shares in the company, valued at $564,149.25. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 1.88% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Morgan Stanley lifted its position in SunOpta by 1.1% during the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 8,023,782 shares of the company’s stock valued at $56,648,000 after purchasing an additional 89,567 shares during the period. Engaged Capital LLC lifted its position in SunOpta by 3.7% during the 1st quarter. Engaged Capital LLC now owns 6,756,907 shares of the company’s stock valued at $46,961,000 after purchasing an additional 241,823 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC lifted its position in SunOpta by 6.8% during the 4th quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 4,234,596 shares of the company’s stock valued at $28,965,000 after purchasing an additional 270,963 shares during the period. Eventide Asset Management LLC lifted its position in SunOpta by 1.4% during the 1st quarter. Eventide Asset Management LLC now owns 3,887,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $27,015,000 after purchasing an additional 54,400 shares during the period. Finally, FMR LLC lifted its position in SunOpta by 7.3% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,808,406 shares of the company’s stock valued at $38,845,000 after purchasing an additional 258,960 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 79.28% of the company’s stock.

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SunOpta Company Profile

Sunopta Inc is a Canada-based company, which operates businesses focused on a healthy products portfolio. It operates through the following segments: Global Ingredients and Consumer Products. The Global Ingredients segment aggregates its North American and international raw material sourcing and supply operating segments focused on the procurement, processing and sale of specialty and organic grains, seeds, fruits, grain- and cocoa-based ingredients, and other commodities.

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