Consolidated Water Co. (NASDAQ: CWCO) and Artesian Resources Corporation (NASDAQ:ARTNA) are both small-cap utilities companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, valuation, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, profitabiliy, risk and earnings.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

50.8% of Consolidated Water Co. shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 39.8% of Artesian Resources Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 3.2% of Consolidated Water Co. shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 20.6% of Artesian Resources Corporation shares are held 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.

Dividends

Consolidated Water Co. pays an annual dividend of $0.30 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Artesian Resources Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.93 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Consolidated Water Co. pays out 96.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Artesian Resources Corporation pays out 64.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Artesian Resources Corporation is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Risk and Volatility

Consolidated Water Co. has a beta of 0.87, suggesting that its share price is 13% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Artesian Resources Corporation has a beta of 0.09, suggesting that its share price is 91% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Consolidated Water Co. and Artesian Resources Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Consolidated Water Co. 0 0 1 0 3.00
Artesian Resources Corporation 0 1 0 0 2.00

Consolidated Water Co. currently has a consensus price target of $15.00, suggesting a potential upside of 21.46%. Artesian Resources Corporation has a consensus price target of $41.00, suggesting a potential upside of 12.21%. Given Consolidated Water Co.’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Consolidated Water Co. is more favorable than Artesian Resources Corporation.

Profitability

This table compares Consolidated Water Co. and Artesian Resources Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Consolidated Water Co. 7.62% 5.34% 5.02%
Artesian Resources Corporation 16.55% 9.59% 2.94%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Consolidated Water Co. and Artesian Resources Corporation’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Consolidated Water Co. $59.52 million 3.09 $13.25 million $0.31 39.84
Artesian Resources Corporation $79.83 million 4.19 $36.62 million $1.45 25.20

Artesian Resources Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Consolidated Water Co.. Artesian Resources Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Consolidated Water Co., indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Artesian Resources Corporation beats Consolidated Water Co. on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Consolidated Water Co. Company Profile

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. develops and operates seawater desalination plants (that utilize reverse osmosis technology) and water distribution systems in areas where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or non-existent. The Company operates in three segments: retail water operations, bulk water operations and services operations. The retail water operations segment produces and supplies water to end users, including residential, commercial and government customers. The bulk water operations segment produces potable water from seawater and sells this water to governments and private customers. The services operations segment provides engineering and management services, including designing and constructing desalination plants, and managing and operating plants owned by affiliated companies. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, it provides various services to its customers in the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands and Indonesia.

Artesian Resources Corporation Company Profile

Artesian Resources Corporation is a holding company. The Company’s subsidiaries offer water, wastewater and other services on the Delmarva Peninsula. The Company distributes and sells water, including water for public and private fire protection, to residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers in the states of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Company also provides wastewater services to customers in Delaware. In addition, the Company provides contract water and wastewater operations, and water, sewer and internal Service Line Protection Plans. As of December 31, 2016, the Company was the holding company of five regulated public utilities: Artesian Water Company, Inc., Artesian Water Pennsylvania, Inc., Artesian Water Maryland, Inc., Artesian Wastewater Management, Inc. and Artesian Wastewater Maryland, Inc., and three non-regulated subsidiaries: Artesian Utility Development, Inc., Artesian Development Corporation and Artesian Consulting Engineers, Inc.

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