IBERIABANK (NASDAQ: IBKC) and Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) are both finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, risk, dividends, institutional ownership and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares IBERIABANK and Southern First Bancshares’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
IBERIABANK 17.14% 6.57% 0.92%
Southern First Bancshares 21.10% 11.10% 0.97%

Volatility and Risk

IBERIABANK has a beta of 1.37, meaning that its stock price is 37% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Southern First Bancshares has a beta of 0.74, meaning that its stock price is 26% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares IBERIABANK and Southern First Bancshares’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
IBERIABANK $950.76 million 4.67 $186.77 million $3.52 23.42
Southern First Bancshares $62.04 million 5.07 $13.03 million $1.99 21.61

IBERIABANK has higher revenue and earnings than Southern First Bancshares. Southern First Bancshares is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than IBERIABANK, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

IBERIABANK pays an annual dividend of $1.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.8%. Southern First Bancshares does not pay a dividend. IBERIABANK pays out 42.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for IBERIABANK and Southern First Bancshares, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
IBERIABANK 0 3 8 0 2.73
Southern First Bancshares 0 1 2 0 2.67

IBERIABANK presently has a consensus price target of $89.30, suggesting a potential upside of 8.31%. Southern First Bancshares has a consensus price target of $38.67, suggesting a potential downside of 10.08%. Given IBERIABANK’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe IBERIABANK is more favorable than Southern First Bancshares.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

80.4% of IBERIABANK shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 70.1% of Southern First Bancshares shares are held by institutional investors. 2.5% of IBERIABANK shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 12.9% of Southern First Bancshares shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

IBERIABANK beats Southern First Bancshares on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About IBERIABANK

IBERIABANK Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company is a holding company for IBERIABANK, a Louisiana state chartered banking corporation; Lenders Title Company, an Arkansas-chartered title insurance and closing services agency (Lenders Title); IBERIA Capital Partners LLC (ICP), a corporate finance services firm; 1887 Leasing, LLC, a holding company for its aircraft; IBERIA Asset Management, Inc. (IAM), which provides wealth management and trust advisory services to high net worth individuals, pension funds, corporations and trusts; 840 Denning, LLC, which invests in a commercial rental property, and IBERIA CDE, LLC (CDE), which invests in purchased tax credits. IBERIABANK offers commercial and retail banking products and services. These products and services include an array of commercial, consumer, mortgage, and private banking products and services, trust advisory services, cash management, deposit and annuity products.

About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina. The Bank is primarily engaged in the business of accepting demand deposits and savings deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC) and providing commercial, consumer and mortgage loans to the public. In addition to deposit and loan services, the Company offers other bank services, such as Internet banking, cash management services, safe deposit boxes, direct deposit and automatic drafts for various accounts. The Bank offers a range of lending services, including real estate, commercial, and equity-line consumer loans to individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses, and professional firms.

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