Ferrellgas Shares Upgraded

Ferrellgas is one of the country's leading propane suppliers with more than one million customers in all 50 states. (image: ferrellgasconnect.com)

One of the country’s biggest propane retail and distribution companies has been given a share upgrade by equities analysts Zacks Investment Research, localizedusa.com reports.

Zacks elevated Ferrellgas Partners from “underperform” to “neutral” in a research note to investors last week. The share upgrade reflects the energy company’s strong acquisitions record in the last year and its buoyant economic outlook.

Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and founded in 1939 in Atchison, Kansas, Ferrellgas Partners is a nationwide propane provider serving about one million customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Zacks analysts said Ferrellgas Partners had been growing through acquisitions and expanding its presence.

“We like the partnership’s strategy of pushing for acquisitions, which supplements its organic growth efforts. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, the partnership has already made five acquisitions. We also appreciate the partnership’s efforts at asset-liability management by lowering debt and improving liquidity. We are upgrading our recommendation for Ferrellgas to Neutral.”

The analysts noted the partnerships disappointing third-quarter results, which reflect traditional off-season heating demand, and said it was trading at a discount to its peers.

The neutral upgrade comes just weeks after Zacks offered a similar upgrade to Ferrellgas competitor and propane heavyweight Suburban Propane Partners, LP, citing a stronger financial performance by the national energy company and bright outlook.

Ferrellgas Partners LP is a distributor of propane and related equipment. It supplies customers mainly in the US. Its operations primarily include the distribution and sale of propane and related equipment and supplies with concentrations in the Midwest, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest regions of the US.