Knoll (NYSE: KNL) and Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) are both small-cap business services companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, valuation, dividends and profitabiliy.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Knoll and Steelcase, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Knoll 0 1 1 0 2.50
Steelcase 0 1 1 0 2.50

Knoll presently has a consensus price target of $27.00, suggesting a potential upside of 37.90%. Steelcase has a consensus price target of $16.00, suggesting a potential upside of 16.36%. Given Knoll’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Knoll is more favorable than Steelcase.

Volatility & Risk

Knoll has a beta of 0.99, meaning that its share price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Steelcase has a beta of 1.21, meaning that its share price is 21% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

98.4% of Knoll shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 65.6% of Steelcase shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.9% of Knoll shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 18.9% of Steelcase shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

Knoll pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. Steelcase pays an annual dividend of $0.51 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.7%. Knoll pays out 36.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Steelcase pays out 50.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Knoll has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years and Steelcase has raised its dividend for 2 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Knoll and Steelcase’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Knoll 7.02% 26.34% 9.35%
Steelcase 4.04% 16.37% 7.17%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Knoll and Steelcase’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Knoll $1.14 billion 0.84 $150.35 million $1.63 12.01
Steelcase $3.05 billion 0.53 $261.10 million $1.01 13.61

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

Summary

Knoll beats Steelcase on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Knoll

Knoll, Inc. is a manufacturer of commercial and residential furniture, accessories and coverings. The Company operates through three segments: Office, Studio and Coverings. The Office segment includes a range of workplace products that address workplace planning paradigms. These products include systems furniture, seating, storage, tables, desks and KnollExtra accessories, as well as the international sales of its North American Office products. The Studio segment includes KnollStudio products, DatesWeiser, HOLLY HUNT and Knoll Europe. The Coverings segment includes KnollTextiles, Spinneybeck (including Filzfelt), and Edelman Leather. These businesses provide a range of customers with fabrics, felt, leather and related architectural products. KnollStudio products include iconic seating, lounge furniture, side, cafe and dining chairs, as well as conference, training, dining and occasional tables.

About Steelcase

Steelcase Inc. provides an integrated portfolio of furniture settings, user-centered technologies and interior architectural products. The Company’s segments include Americas, EMEA and Other Category. The Company’s furniture portfolio includes panel-based and freestanding furniture systems and complementary products, such as storage, tables and ergonomic worktools. Its seating products include task chairs, which are ergonomic seating that can be used in collaborative or casual settings and specialty seating for specific vertical markets, such as healthcare and education. Its technology solutions support group collaboration by integrating furniture and technology. Its interior architectural products include full and partial height walls and doors. It also offers services, which include workplace strategy consulting, lease origination services, furniture and asset management and hosted spaces. Its family of brands includes Steelcase, Coalesse, Designtex, PolyVision and Turnstone.

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