Seacoast Banking Set For Profitability Ramp, Says KBW

KBW has upgraded
Seacoast Banking Corporation of FloridaSBCF
to Outperform from Market Perform, saying the bank is set for meaningfully higher profits due to improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. The upgrade boosted shares 6 percent to a new 52-week high of $17.52.

In addition, the ongoing shareholder unrest may result in a possible sale, which only helps shareholders given the bank's significant franchise value.

"[W]hile we believe SBCF is making significant progress in earning its independence the potential of a sale also boosts the shares' value proposition in our view," analyst Jefferson Harralson wrote in a note.

On the fundamentals front, Seacoast has been repeating its guidance for $1.00 in 2016 EPS, which implies an average of $0.29 in EPS per quarter in the next two quarters.

Related Link: 7 Biggest Price Target Changes For Thursday

"The $0.29 level should also get SBCF very close to a 1 percent ROA. Importantly, the $0.29 level in Q3 would put SBCF on pace to $1.20 or higher in 2017 EPS, which would represent 25 percent growth over 2016," Harralson highlighted.

Harralson, who expects EPS of $0.98 for 2016 and $1.23 for 2017, also raised his price target to $20 from $18. The $20 target is 14.5x his $1.38 2018 EPS estimate and a reasonable 1.8x year end 2017 TBV estimate.

"Additionally, SBCF is trading at discounts of 12.9 percent on 2017 EPS, 16.2 percent on 2018 EPS, and 6.4 percent on TBV versus averages for Southeastern peers ($2.5–10 billion in assets)," Harralson added.

At time of writing, shares of Seacoast had risen 5 percent on the day to $17.30.

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Posted In: Jefferson HarralsonKBWAnalyst ColorLong IdeasNewsUpgradesPrice TargetAnalyst RatingsMoversTrading Ideas