National Securities started coverage on shares of Saratoga Investment Corp (NYSE:SAR) in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday. The firm issued a neutral rating and a $23.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

“Investment Conclusion . We are initiating coverage of Saratoga Investment Corp. (SAR) with a NEUTRAL rating and $23 price target. Saratoga is a lower middle market (LMM) focused company, making loans to companies with EBITDA between $2 – $50 million. The company commenced operations in March 2007 but was known as GSC Investment Corp. and was externally managed by GSCP, LP. In July 2010 the company recapitalized and Saratoga Investment Advisors became the new external manager of the company. SAR did not begin to pay regular cash dividends until fiscal 2Q15 and since then it has increased its quarterly dividend every quarter. The company recently had a couple non-accruals pop up totaling $20.1 million or 5.9% of the portfolio at amortized cost. We expect portfolio growth to offset the pressure on earnings that the non-accruals would otherwise cause. However, we note that we do model NAV to decrease the next fiscal quarter before stabilizing. Ample dry powder with increased first tier sponsor relationships should drive good volume for Saratoga, helping NII to overcome the anticipated earnings drag from non-accruals. Additionally, we expect the company to have to issue minimal equity on a flow basis through its ATM program given the reasonable regulatory leverage on the balance sheet. ,” National Securities’ analyst commented.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Saratoga Investment Corp from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, July 12th.

Shares of Saratoga Investment Corp (SAR) opened at 21.44 on Tuesday. Saratoga Investment Corp has a 52 week low of $17.17 and a 52 week high of $23.78. The firm has a market capitalization of $127.93 million, a P/E ratio of 13.58 and a beta of 0.50. The company has a 50-day moving average of $20.93 and a 200 day moving average of $21.74.

Saratoga Investment Corp (NYSE:SAR) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 12th. The financial services provider reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.46 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $8.71 million for the quarter. Saratoga Investment Corp had a net margin of 26.84% and a return on equity of 8.03%. Equities research analysts anticipate that Saratoga Investment Corp will post $1.68 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 26th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. This is an increase from Saratoga Investment Corp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 8.96%. Saratoga Investment Corp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 118.99%.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SAR. UBS Group AG increased its position in shares of Saratoga Investment Corp by 18.5% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 6,896 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $150,000 after buying an additional 1,078 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Saratoga Investment Corp during the first quarter valued at $213,000. Northern Trust Corp purchased a new position in shares of Saratoga Investment Corp during the second quarter valued at $213,000. GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new position in shares of Saratoga Investment Corp during the second quarter valued at $215,000. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in shares of Saratoga Investment Corp by 925.6% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 10,256 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $222,000 after buying an additional 9,256 shares in the last quarter. 17.04% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Saratoga Investment Corp Company Profile

Saratoga Investment Corp. is a specialty finance company. The Company is an externally managed, closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. The Company invests primarily in leveraged loans and mezzanine debt issued by private middle-market companies in the United States. Its investment objective is to generate current income and, to a lesser extent, capital appreciation from its investments.

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