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Zacks Investment Research upgraded Atlas Copco AB (ATLKY) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on Feb 2, 2013.

Why the Upgrade?

The industrial productivity solutions provider posted solid fourth quarter 2012 results with earnings per ADR coming in at 44 cents, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 41 cents. Revenue also grew 2% year over year on the back of a 4% increase in organic revenue. Operating profits increased 2% while remaining stable at 20.6% as a percentage of revenue.

For 2012, revenues increased 11% year over year on the back of a 4% increase in orders received. Healthy performances were noticed in Compressor Technique, Industrial Technique, and Mining and Rock Excavation Technique.

Operating income registered a 9% increase and net profits for the period grew 7%. A sharp decline in debt-to-equity ratio was noticed for 2012 that stood at 24.2% compared with 49.2% in 2011. Return on equity was at 44.5% in 2012.

Four straight quarters of positive earnings surprise with the average of 6.9%, raises optimism for a better quarter ahead. For 2013 and 2014, we have an Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) of +5.9% and +5.1%, respectively.
In the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased by 2.4% to $1.70 while that for 2014 went up 5.4% to $1.77.

Other Stocks to Consider

The stock currently bears a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other stocks worth a look in the industry are Atlas Copco AB (AIMC - Snapshot Report) and Metso Corp. , each holding a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Gorman-Rupp Co. (GRC - Snapshot Report), bearing a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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