Vertex Energy (NASDAQ: VTNR) and Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) are both small-cap industrial products companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, dividends, risk, earnings, valuation and institutional ownership.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Vertex Energy and Marathon Patent Group’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Vertex Energy $118.72 million 0.28 $975,784.00 ($0.55) -1.87
Marathon Patent Group $34.65 million 0.20 $8.58 million ($1.86) -0.16

Marathon Patent Group has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Vertex Energy. Vertex Energy is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Marathon Patent Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

23.5% of Vertex Energy shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 14.6% of Marathon Patent Group shares are held by institutional investors. 31.0% of Vertex Energy shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 19.8% of Marathon Patent Group shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk and Volatility

Vertex Energy has a beta of 0.86, meaning that its stock price is 14% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Marathon Patent Group has a beta of 0.51, meaning that its stock price is 49% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Vertex Energy and Marathon Patent Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Vertex Energy -5.63% -16.86% -7.60%
Marathon Patent Group -81.91% -1,139.06% -92.34%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Vertex Energy and Marathon Patent Group, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Vertex Energy 0 1 0 0 2.00
Marathon Patent Group 0 0 1 0 3.00

Vertex Energy presently has a consensus target price of $1.00, suggesting a potential downside of 2.91%. Marathon Patent Group has a consensus target price of $3.00, suggesting a potential upside of 888.68%. Given Marathon Patent Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Marathon Patent Group is more favorable than Vertex Energy.

Summary

Vertex Energy beats Marathon Patent Group on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Vertex Energy

Vertex Energy, Inc. is an environmental services company that recycles industrial waste streams and off-specification commercial chemical products. The Company focuses on recycling used motor oil and other petroleum by-products. The Company’s segments include the Black Oil, Refining and Marketing, and Recovery divisions. The Company’s product categories include Used Motor Oil, Fuel Oil, pyrolysis gasoline (Pygas), Gasoline Blendstock and Base Oil. The Black Oil division is engaged in operations across the used motor oil recycling value chain, including collection, aggregation, transportation, storage, refinement and sales of aggregated feedstock and re-refined products to end users. The Refining and Marketing division is engaged in the aggregation of feedstock, re-refining it into end products, and selling these products to customers. The Recovery division is a provider of generator solutions for the recovery and management of hydrocarbon streams.

About Marathon Patent Group

Marathon Patent Group Inc. (MARA) is engaged in acquiring patents and patent rights from owners or other ventures. The Company monetizes its portfolio of patents and patent rights by entering into license discussions. The Company owns around 378 United States and foreign patents, and patent rights across a range of technologies and markets. The Company owns around 22 patent applications across a range of technologies and markets.

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