Sanders Morris Harris (SMH) out positively on MRU Holdings (UNCL). The firm is hearing from sources that student loan volume at UNCL during Dec and Jan to date has been robust, running ahead of the co's expectations. Daily loan disbursements have frequently topped $1M in recent weeks and have started earlier than anticipated. The business mix includes a solid percentage of new customers, plus returning borrowers.
SMH says that UNCL also continues to make progress on the securitization and is currently working with the rating agencies. As a result of the recent loan volume and the Feb timing, firm has boosted their est for the amount of loans to be securitized by $30M, to $150M, which subsequently raises F3Q07 EPS ests. For the current quarter and full-year, SMH now projects earnings of $0.46 and $0.40, respectively, up from previous ests of $0.29 and $0.28. Firms full-year est still assumes a second securitization in FQ4 as well.
According to SMH, UNCL is a very attractive early-stage investment opportunity given its strengthening position as the low-cost provider in the rapidly growing student loan mkt.
Analyst reiterates Buy with price tgt of $9.
Notablecalls: MRU Holdings (UNCL) is one of NC's l-t picks (See archives). Most important event for the co is surely securitization, which, as we see now, is ahead of expectations. While UNCL currently remains under-the-radar stock, I would not be surprised to see a positive reaction following the call.