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Vertex Energy, Inc. Healthy Eco-Friendly Stock

|Includes: Vertex Energy, Inc. (VTNR)

Today's average consumer is more environmentally sensitive than ever before. A number of recent trends are responsible for this shift in customer perceptions, such as growth in eco-friendly products on the market, wider acceptance of global warming as a fact and the risks it poses for the planet, as well as bolder and louder campaigns by Green Peace and other campaigners. Governments have also played an active role with Western Europe and Canada taking the lead, while the USA and Asia are trailing behind in putting in place legislation to encourage a move towards a greener economy. There are a number of ways to get involved in the fast growing green economy, and investing in eco-stocks is one way.

Vertex Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) provides solutions to process and recycle industrial waste. The company has two main business divisions, one that deals with collection and marketing of used motor engine oil and the other has to do with purchase of by-products from pipeline operators that is then processed and sold for a number of purposes. Based in Houston, Texas, the company markets its products in 13 states mostly located along the Gulf coast.

The company does not currently pay out dividends and there is no history of it having done so during the last five years. Nevertheless, investors can expect gains in this company's share price as profitability continues to improve. According to the most recent quarterly earnings reports, the company saw a 53 percent increase in gross profit. Sales were up by 29 percent and net income improved by 11 percent, as compared to the same period last year. The company is witnessing phenomenal growth both in sales margins and volume.

For the most part of the last five years, shares of Vertex Energy, Inc. have struggled to rise above $1. Since July 2012, Vertex Energy, Inc. shares seem to be maintaining their gains and moving towards reaching new highs. The company's shares opened this year above $3.25 and for the last six months have increased by 16 percent. Moving forward, we should not expect any significant increase in the company's share price as it weathers the dilution effects of a recent common stock public offering worth $8 million. Analysts have given the company a conservative mean price target of $4.40.

Can this stock fit into the category of those that may breakout in 2014? The answer to that is no, at least for the meantime. Almost 60 percent of the company's shares are held by insiders and they have a lot of influence on the direction shares of this company take, although there is no sign in the past of them having exercised their power to do so. Vertex Energy, Inc. is a good pick for investors looking for emerging growth stocks that want to lock and preserve their wealth as it is not very volatile and is on slow sustainable growth path.