Freshpet (NASDAQ:FRPT) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Freshpet (NASDAQ:FRPT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Freshpet Inc. is a pet food company. The company manufactures and markets natural fresh foods, refrigerated meals, and treats for dogs and cats in the United States and Canada. Freshpet provides meats- based recipes, such as chicken, beef, lamb and salmon; fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, peas and leafy green vegetables, and high-fiber grains, such as brown rice, oats and barley. It sells its products under the Freshpet, Dognation, and Dog Joy brand names. Freshpet Inc. is headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey. “

FRPT has been the subject of several other research reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Freshpet from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday. DA Davidson initiated coverage on shares of Freshpet in a research report on Wednesday, June 19th. They issued a buy rating and a $60.00 price target for the company. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Freshpet from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, August 1st. SunTrust Banks reduced their price target on shares of Freshpet to $45.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiated coverage on shares of Freshpet in a research report on Tuesday, July 30th. They issued a neutral rating and a $46.00 price target for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $46.17.

NASDAQ FRPT traded down $0.08 on Wednesday, hitting $39.42. 3,540 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 325,405. The company has a current ratio of 1.08, a quick ratio of 0.72 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07. Freshpet has a fifty-two week low of $28.44 and a fifty-two week high of $51.85. The firm has a market cap of $1.52 billion, a P/E ratio of -264.40 and a beta of 1.11. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $45.08.

Freshpet (NASDAQ:FRPT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, August 5th. The company reported ($0.16) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($0.08) by ($0.08). Freshpet had a negative return on equity of 6.21% and a negative net margin of 3.42%. The firm had revenue of $60.10 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $59.59 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned ($0.10) EPS. The company’s revenue was up 26.3% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Freshpet will post 0.04 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Freshpet news, CFO Richard A. Kassar sold 55,509 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.78, for a total transaction of $2,652,220.02. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 184,463 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,813,642.14. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Scott James Morris sold 20,436 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.58, for a total transaction of $992,780.88. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 168,510 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,186,215.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 174,104 shares of company stock valued at $8,335,030. 5.10% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in FRPT. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can purchased a new position in Freshpet during the 4th quarter worth $58,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its stake in shares of Freshpet by 21.1% during the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 2,087 shares of the company’s stock worth $95,000 after purchasing an additional 363 shares during the period. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc acquired a new position in shares of Freshpet during the 1st quarter worth $120,000. SG Americas Securities LLC acquired a new position in shares of Freshpet during the 1st quarter worth $140,000. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc grew its stake in shares of Freshpet by 28.2% during the 4th quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 5,209 shares of the company’s stock worth $167,000 after purchasing an additional 1,146 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 86.92% of the company’s stock.

About Freshpet

Freshpet, Inc manufactures and markets natural fresh products, refrigerated meals, and treats for dogs and cats in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The company sells its products under the Freshpet brand; and Dognation and Dog Joy labels through various classes of retail, including grocery, mass, club, pet specialty, and natural, as well as online.

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