Lancaster Colony Corporation (NASDAQ: LANC) and Internationa Flavors & Fragrances (NYSE:IFF) are both mid-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitabiliy, risk, dividends, valuation and earnings.

Volatility and Risk

Lancaster Colony Corporation has a beta of 1.02, indicating that its stock price is 2% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Internationa Flavors & Fragrances has a beta of 1.11, indicating that its stock price is 11% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Lancaster Colony Corporation and Internationa Flavors & Fragrances’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Lancaster Colony Corporation 9.82% 23.80% 19.01%
Internationa Flavors & Fragrances 12.31% 26.93% 10.80%

Dividends

Lancaster Colony Corporation pays an annual dividend of $2.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.8%. Internationa Flavors & Fragrances pays an annual dividend of $2.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.8%. Lancaster Colony Corporation pays out 51.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Internationa Flavors & Fragrances pays out 51.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Lancaster Colony Corporation has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years and Internationa Flavors & Fragrances has increased its dividend for 54 consecutive years. Internationa Flavors & Fragrances is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Lancaster Colony Corporation and Internationa Flavors & Fragrances, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Lancaster Colony Corporation 0 1 4 0 2.80
Internationa Flavors & Fragrances 1 11 4 0 2.19

Lancaster Colony Corporation currently has a consensus target price of $154.67, indicating a potential upside of 26.66%. Internationa Flavors & Fragrances has a consensus target price of $138.45, indicating a potential downside of 0.88%. Given Lancaster Colony Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Lancaster Colony Corporation is more favorable than Internationa Flavors & Fragrances.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

50.1% of Lancaster Colony Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 84.5% of Internationa Flavors & Fragrances shares are owned by institutional investors. 32.1% of Lancaster Colony Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.5% of Internationa Flavors & Fragrances shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Lancaster Colony Corporation and Internationa Flavors & Fragrances’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Lancaster Colony Corporation $1.20 billion 2.79 $221.45 million $4.29 28.46
Internationa Flavors & Fragrances $3.16 billion 3.49 $662.56 million $4.95 28.22

Internationa Flavors & Fragrances has higher revenue and earnings than Lancaster Colony Corporation. Internationa Flavors & Fragrances is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Lancaster Colony Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Internationa Flavors & Fragrances beats Lancaster Colony Corporation on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Lancaster Colony Corporation

Lancaster Colony Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of specialty food products for the retail and foodservice channels. The Company’s food products include Salad dressings and sauces, Vegetable dips and fruit dips, Frozen garlic breads, Frozen Parkerhouse style yeast rolls and dinner rolls, Premium dry egg noodles, Frozen specialty noodles, Croutons and salad toppings, Flatbread wraps and pizza crusts, and Caviar. Its brands include Marzetti, Marzetti Simply Dressed, Cardini’s, Girard’s, Katherine’s Kitchen, New York BRAND Bakery, Mamma Bella’s, Sister Schubert’s, Mary B’s, Inn Maid, Amish Kitchen, Reames, Aunt Vi’s, Flatout and Romanoff. It manufactures and sells other products pursuant to brand license agreements, including Olive Garden dressing, Jack Daniel’s mustards and Hungry Girl flatbreads. A portion of its sales are dressing packets, frozen specialty noodles, pasta and flatbreads sold to industrial customers for use as ingredients or components in their products.

About Internationa Flavors & Fragrances

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. creates, manufactures and supplies flavors and fragrances (including cosmetic active ingredients) used to impart or improve flavor or fragrance in a range of consumer products. The Company operates in two segments: Flavors and Fragrances. The Flavors segment offers flavor compounds that are sold to the food and beverage industries for use in consumer products, such as prepared foods, beverages, dairy, food and sweet products. The Fragrances segment offers fragrance compounds and fragrance ingredients. Its cosmetic active ingredients consist of active and functional ingredients, botanicals and delivery systems to support its customers’ cosmetic and personal care product lines. Its products are sold to manufacturers of perfumes and cosmetics, hair and other personal care products, soaps and detergents, meat and other processed foods, beverages, snacks and savory foods, sweet and baked goods, and pharmaceutical and oral care products, among others.

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