Golar LNG (GLNG) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Golar LNG is anticipated to benefit immensely this year on the back of strength in shipping activity. Moreover, FLNG Hilli Episeyo operations for the entire 2019 are expected to boost results. The commencement of Sergipe in 2020 is also a major positive, expected to drive the company’s cash flow. Its 20-year Lease and Operate Agreement (LOA) with BP for servicing the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project is another major upside. Additionally, the company’s efforts to add shareholder value through dividends are encouraging. However, its high operating expenses are a huge cause for worry and might hamper the company's bottom-line growth in the first quarter of 2019. Also, TCE rates are expected to decline signficantly in the first quarter compared to that in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company's high debt levels are also concerning. In fact, shares of the company have declined more than 21% in the last six months. “

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Scotiabank initiated coverage on Golar LNG in a report on Friday, February 8th. They set an outperform rating for the company. BidaskClub lowered Golar LNG from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, January 17th. Cowen set a $41.00 price objective on Golar LNG and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Sunday, December 30th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Golar LNG from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $33.18.

GLNG opened at $19.27 on Friday. Golar LNG has a 12-month low of $19.21 and a 12-month high of $35.54. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 0.65 and a quick ratio of 0.64. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.95 billion, a PE ratio of -50.71 and a beta of 0.75.

Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 27th. The shipping company reported $0.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.15 by $0.17. The firm had revenue of $181.94 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $131.96 million. Golar LNG had a negative return on equity of 2.03% and a negative net margin of 53.74%. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Golar LNG will post -0.45 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, April 3rd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 14th were issued a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 13th. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.11%. Golar LNG’s dividend payout ratio is currently -157.89%.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. AdvisorNet Financial Inc lifted its stake in Golar LNG by 10.6% in the 4th quarter. AdvisorNet Financial Inc now owns 5,225 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 500 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in Golar LNG by 6.4% in the 4th quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 14,842 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $323,000 after acquiring an additional 893 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Golar LNG by 0.7% in the 3rd quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 180,251 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $5,011,000 after acquiring an additional 1,295 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can raised its holdings in Golar LNG by 75.1% in the 4th quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,130 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $68,000 after acquiring an additional 1,342 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Strs Ohio raised its holdings in Golar LNG by 62.1% in the 4th quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 4,700 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $102,000 after acquiring an additional 1,800 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.86% of the company’s stock.

About Golar LNG

Golar LNG Limited, a midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) company, engages in the transportation, regasification, and liquefaction of LNG. It operates through three segments: Vessel operations, Floating Liquefaction Natural Gas Vessel (FLNG), and Power. The company engages in the acquisition, ownership, operation, and chartering of LNG carriers and floating storage regasification units (FSRUs); and the development of LNG projects.

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