Olin Corporation (NYSE: OLN) and Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE) are both mid-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitabiliy, dividends, valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, risk and institutional ownership.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

93.0% of Olin Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 98.4% of Celanese Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 2.9% of Olin Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.4% of Celanese Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Volatility and Risk

Olin Corporation has a beta of 1.44, meaning that its stock price is 44% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Celanese Corporation has a beta of 1.28, meaning that its stock price is 28% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Olin Corporation and Celanese Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Olin Corporation 0.82% 7.40% 1.93%
Celanese Corporation 15.14% 30.92% 11.27%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Olin Corporation and Celanese Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Olin Corporation $5.77 billion 0.90 $843.10 million $0.28 111.96
Celanese Corporation $5.46 billion 2.52 $1.16 billion $5.73 17.22

Celanese Corporation has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Olin Corporation. Celanese Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Olin Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Olin Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Celanese Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. Olin Corporation pays out 285.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Celanese Corporation pays out 32.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Celanese Corporation has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Olin Corporation and Celanese Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Olin Corporation 0 2 4 0 2.67
Celanese Corporation 1 4 8 1 2.64

Olin Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $32.67, indicating a potential upside of 4.20%. Celanese Corporation has a consensus target price of $96.92, indicating a potential downside of 1.78%. Given Olin Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Olin Corporation is more favorable than Celanese Corporation.

Summary

Celanese Corporation beats Olin Corporation on 11 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Olin Corporation

Olin Corporation is a manufacturer and distributor of chemical products, and ammunition. The Company operates through three segments: Chlor Alkali Products and Vinyls, Epoxy and Winchester. The Chlor Alkali Products and Vinyls segment manufactures and sells chlorine and caustic soda, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer, methyl chloride, methylene chloride, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene and vinylidene chloride, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen, bleach products and potassium hydroxide. The Epoxy segment produces and sells a range of epoxy materials, including allyl chloride, epichlorohydrin, liquid epoxy resins and downstream products, such as converted epoxy resins and additives. The Winchester segment produces and sells sporting ammunition, reloading components, small caliber military ammunition and components, and industrial cartridges.

About Celanese Corporation

Celanese Corporation (Celanese) is a technology and specialty materials company. The Company’s segments include Advanced Engineered Materials, Consumer Specialties, Industrial Specialties, Acetyl Intermediates and Other Activities. The Advanced Engineered Materials segment includes the Company’s engineered materials business and certain affiliates. The Consumer Specialties segment includes the Company’s cellulose derivatives and food ingredients businesses, which serve consumer-driven applications. The Industrial Specialties segment includes the Company’s emulsion polymers and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) polymers businesses. The Acetyl Intermediates segment includes the Company’s intermediate chemistry business, which produces and supplies acetyl products, including acetic acid, vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), acetic anhydride and acetate esters. The Company has operations in North America, Europe and Asia. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had 30 global production facilities.

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