Vulcan Materials (NYSE: VMC) and Smart Sand (NASDAQ:SND) are both basic materials companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations and risk.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

87.3% of Vulcan Materials shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 50.9% of Smart Sand shares are held by institutional investors. 0.9% of Vulcan Materials shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


Vulcan Materials pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Smart Sand does not pay a dividend. Vulcan Materials pays out 34.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Vulcan Materials has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Vulcan Materials and Smart Sand, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Vulcan Materials 0 2 4 0 2.67
Smart Sand 0 4 6 0 2.60

Vulcan Materials presently has a consensus price target of $140.00, indicating a potential upside of 13.02%. Smart Sand has a consensus price target of $13.28, indicating a potential upside of 65.97%. Given Smart Sand’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Smart Sand is more favorable than Vulcan Materials.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Vulcan Materials and Smart Sand’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Vulcan Materials $3.59 billion 4.56 $419.49 million $2.93 42.28
Smart Sand $59.23 million 5.46 $10.37 million $0.66 12.12

Vulcan Materials has higher revenue and earnings than Smart Sand. Smart Sand is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Vulcan Materials, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares Vulcan Materials and Smart Sand’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Vulcan Materials 10.20% 8.71% 4.38%
Smart Sand 18.67% 14.41% 11.85%


Vulcan Materials beats Smart Sand on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Vulcan Materials Company Profile

Vulcan Materials Company is a supplier of construction aggregates (primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel) and a producer of asphalt mix and ready-mixed concrete. The Company operates through four segments: Aggregates, Asphalt Mix, Concrete and Calcium. The Aggregates segment produces and sells aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel, sand, and other aggregates) and related products and services (transportation and other). The Company produces and sells asphalt mix in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The Company produces and sells ready-mixed concrete in Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, Washington District of Columbia and the Bahamas. The Calcium segment consists of a Florida facility that mines, produces and sells calcium products. As of December 31, 2016, it had 337 active aggregates facilities. The Company sells aggregates that are used as ballast for construction and maintenance of railroad tracks.

Smart Sand Company Profile

Smart Sand, Inc. is a producer of Northern White raw frac sand, which is a proppant used to enhance hydrocarbon recovery rates in the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells. The Company sells its products primarily to oil and natural gas exploration and production companies and oilfield service companies under a combination of long-term take-or-pay contracts and spot sales in the open market. It owns and operates a raw frac sand mine and related processing facility near Oakdale, Wisconsin. In addition to the Oakdale facility, it owns a second property in Jackson County, Wisconsin, known as Hixton site. Its sand reserves include a balanced concentration of coarse (20/40, 30/50 and 40/70 gradation) sands and fine (60/140 gradation) sand. Its reserves contain deposits of approximately 20% of 20/40 and coarser substrate, over 40% of 40/70 mesh substrate and approximately 40% of 100-mesh substrate. Its 30/50 gradation is a derivative of the 20/40 and 40/70 blends.

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