Andersons (NASDAQ:ANDE) and Universal (NYSE:UVV) are both small-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, profitability, valuation, risk, institutional ownership and earnings.

Dividends

Andersons pays an annual dividend of $0.66 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Universal pays an annual dividend of $3.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.4%. Andersons pays out 57.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Andersons has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years and Universal has raised its dividend for 46 consecutive years. Universal is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

80.4% of Andersons shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 85.2% of Universal shares are held by institutional investors. 5.5% of Andersons shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.5% of Universal shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for Andersons and Universal, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Andersons 0 2 1 0 2.33
Universal 0 0 0 0 N/A

Andersons presently has a consensus price target of $41.33, indicating a potential upside of 25.33%. Given Andersons’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Andersons is more favorable than Universal.

Risk & Volatility

Andersons has a beta of 1.24, suggesting that its stock price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Universal has a beta of 0.79, suggesting that its stock price is 21% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Andersons and Universal’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Andersons 2.66% 4.05% 1.54%
Universal 5.41% 7.63% 4.82%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Andersons and Universal’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Andersons $3.69 billion 0.25 $42.51 million $1.15 28.68
Universal $2.03 billion 0.84 $105.66 million N/A N/A

Universal has lower revenue, but higher earnings than Andersons.

Summary

Universal beats Andersons on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Andersons Company Profile

The Andersons, Inc., an agriculture company, operates in the grain, ethanol, plant nutrient, and rail sectors in the United States and internationally. The company's Grain segment operates grain elevators; stores grains; and provides grain marketing, risk management, and corn origination services to its customers and affiliated ethanol facilities. Its Ethanol segment purchases and sells ethanol; and offers facility operations, risk management, and ethanol and corn oil marketing services to the ethanol plants it invests in and operates. The company's Rail segment leases, sells, and repairs various types of railcars, locomotives, and barges; provides fleet management services to private railcar owners; and offers metal fabrication services. Its Plant Nutrient segment manufactures, distributes, and retails agricultural and related plant nutrients, corncob-based products, and pelleted lime and gypsum products; and crop nutrients, crop protection chemicals, and seed products, as well as provides application and agronomic services to commercial and family farmers. This segment also offers warehousing, packaging, and manufacturing services to nutrient producers and other distributors; and manufactures and distributes nitrogen reagents for air pollution control systems that are used in coal-fired power plants, and water treatment and dust abatement products. In addition, this segment produces professional turf care products for golf course and turf care markets; and fertilizer and control products, as well as provides contract manufacturing of fertilizer and control products. The Andersons, Inc. was founded in 1947 and is based in Maumee, Ohio.

Universal Company Profile

Universal Corporation engages in the supply of leaf tobacco products worldwide. The company operates through North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Dark Air-Cured, Oriental, and Special Services segments. It is involved in procuring, financing, processing, packing, storing, and shipping leaf tobacco for sale to manufacturers of consumer tobacco products. The company contracts, purchases, processes, and sells flue-cured, burley, and oriental tobaccos that are primarily used in the manufacture of cigarettes; and dark air-cured tobaccos principally used in the manufacture of cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products. It also provides value-added services, including blending, chemical, and physical testing of tobacco; service cutting for various manufacturers; manufacturing reconstituted leaf tobacco; just-in-time inventory management services; electronic nicotine delivery systems; e-liquid testing services; and smoke testing services for customers. In addition, the company offers testing services for crop protection agents and tobacco constituents in seed, leaf, and finished products, including e-cigarette liquids and vapors; and analytical services that include chemical compound testing in finished tobacco products and mainstream smoke, as well as engages in the research and development growth trials with various partners for non-tobacco agriproducts production, such as vanilla and stevia. Further, it produces and sells dehydrated and juiced fruit and vegetable products, as well as provides water pipe style leaf tobacco; and recycles waste materials from tobacco production. The company was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

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