Essendant Inc. (ESND) Downgraded to Strong Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a report released on Tuesday, August 1st.

According to Zacks, “Essendant Inc. is a leading supplier of workplace essentials, with 2015 net sales of $5.4 billion. The company stocks a broad assortment of over 180,000 items, including technology products, traditional office products, janitorial and breakroom supplies, office furniture, industrial supplies, and automotive aftermarket tools. “

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on ESND. BidaskClub cut Essendant from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. TheStreet cut Essendant from a c- rating to a d+ rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and two have issued a hold rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $17.33.

Essendant (NASDAQ ESND) traded up 0.09% on Tuesday, hitting $11.50. 226,092 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock’s market cap is $431.58 million. Essendant has a 12-month low of $11.26 and a 12-month high of $22.52. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $13.11 and a 200 day moving average price of $15.72.

Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.28 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.09. Essendant had a negative net margin of 2.87% and a positive return on equity of 5.75%. The company had revenue of $1.26 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.31 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.55 earnings per share. Essendant’s revenue was down 6.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Essendant will post $1.09 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 13th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.87%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Essendant’s payout ratio is -13.73%.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd acquired a new stake in Essendant during the second quarter worth approximately $332,000. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its stake in shares of Essendant by 7.9% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 36,389 shares of the company’s stock valued at $540,000 after buying an additional 2,661 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company raised its stake in shares of Essendant by 4.5% in the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 30,776 shares of the company’s stock valued at $456,000 after buying an additional 1,333 shares during the period. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Essendant during the second quarter valued at $179,000. Finally, State Street Corp raised its stake in shares of Essendant by 4.0% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,046,832 shares of the company’s stock valued at $15,530,000 after buying an additional 40,450 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 94.03% of the company’s stock.

About Essendant

Essendant Inc (Essendant) is a wholesale distributor of workplace items. The Company’s product portfolio includes Janitorial, Foodservice and Breakroom Supplies (JanSan), Technology Products, Traditional Office Products, Industrial Supplies, Cut Sheet Paper Products, Automotive Products and Office Furniture.

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