UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) Shares Up 6.9% on Earnings Beat

UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF)’s stock price shot up 6.9% on Wednesday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The stock traded as high as $182.41 and last traded at $178.11. 352,139 shares were traded during mid-day trading, an increase of 193% from the average session volume of 120,149 shares. The stock had previously closed at $166.59.

The textile maker reported $2.46 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.70 by $0.76. The business had revenue of $453.72 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $441.70 million. UniFirst had a net margin of 8.73% and a return on equity of 8.89%. The business’s revenue was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.85 EPS.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 28th. Investors of record on Friday, June 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.1125 per share. This represents a $0.45 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.25%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 6th. UniFirst’s payout ratio is 6.04%.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of UniFirst from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 6th.

In other UniFirst news, major shareholder The Ronald D. Croatti Trust – 1 sold 5,583 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $154.71, for a total transaction of $863,745.93. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Michael Iandoli sold 544 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, April 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $155.04, for a total transaction of $84,341.76. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $775,200. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 9,427 shares of company stock valued at $1,467,149. 1.00% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in UNF. Comerica Bank grew its holdings in shares of UniFirst by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 15,185 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $2,059,000 after acquiring an additional 99 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund bought a new stake in UniFirst during the fourth quarter valued at about $840,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in UniFirst by 3.3% during the fourth quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 3,668 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $525,000 after purchasing an additional 117 shares during the period. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL grew its holdings in UniFirst by 35.3% during the fourth quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 2,300 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $329,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the period. Finally, First Trust Advisors LP grew its holdings in UniFirst by 4.0% during the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 26,871 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $3,844,000 after purchasing an additional 1,030 shares during the period. 77.07% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

The company’s 50-day moving average price is $162.68. The firm has a market cap of $3.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.91 and a beta of 0.63.

UniFirst Company Profile (NYSE:UNF)

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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