Era Group (NYSE: ERA) and United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL) are both transportation companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, dividends, earnings and valuation.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Era Group and United Continental Holdings, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Era Group 0 0 0 0 N/A
United Continental Holdings 0 11 7 0 2.39

United Continental Holdings has a consensus price target of $78.59, indicating a potential upside of 36.58%. Given United Continental Holdings’ higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe United Continental Holdings is more favorable than Era Group.

Volatility & Risk

Era Group has a beta of 0.83, indicating that its stock price is 17% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, United Continental Holdings has a beta of 1.06, indicating that its stock price is 6% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Era Group and United Continental Holdings’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Era Group -6.21% -3.10% -1.52%
United Continental Holdings 6.09% 29.46% 6.17%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

86.8% of Era Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 97.7% of United Continental Holdings shares are held by institutional investors. 7.5% of Era Group shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.3% of United Continental Holdings shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Era Group and United Continental Holdings’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Era Group $233.70 million 0.98 $37.33 million ($0.70) -15.31
United Continental Holdings $37.38 billion 0.47 $6.37 billion $7.23 7.96

United Continental Holdings has higher revenue and earnings than Era Group. Era Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than United Continental Holdings, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

United Continental Holdings beats Era Group on 10 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

Era Group Company Profile

Era Group Inc. is engaged in operating helicopters. The Company’s helicopters transport personnel to, from and between offshore oil and gas production platforms, drilling rigs and other installations. The Company also dry-leases helicopters to third-party helicopter operators and foreign affiliates. The primary users of the Company’s helicopter services are international, integrated and independent oil and gas exploration, development and production companies. In addition to serving the oil and gas industry, it provides air medical services; utility services, including support of firefighting, mining, power line and pipeline survey activities, and Alaska flightseeing tours, among other activities. It owns and operates a range of classes of helicopters, such as Heavy helicopters, Medium helicopters and Light helicopters. Heavy helicopters have twin engines and passenger capacity ranging from 16 to 19. Medium helicopters have twin engines and passenger capacity ranging from 11 to 12.

United Continental Holdings Company Profile

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL) is a holding company and its principal subsidiary is United Air Lines, Inc. (United). The Company transports people and cargo through its mainline operations. It has global air rights in North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The Company, through United and its regional carriers, operates flights from its hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport (Newark Liberty), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (Chicago O’Hare), Denver International Airport (Denver), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston Bush), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), A.B. Won Pat International Airport (Guam), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Washington Dulles International Airport (Washington Dulles). It has contractual relationships with regional carriers to provide regional jet and turboprop service branded as United Express. These regional operations are an extension of the Company’s mainline network.

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