Energy Focus (NASDAQ: EFOI) and Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) are both construction companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, earnings, profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, valuation and risk.

Dividends

Acuity Brands pays an annual dividend of $0.52 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.3%. Energy Focus does not pay a dividend. Acuity Brands pays out 7.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

18.1% of Energy Focus shares are owned by institutional investors. 11.4% of Energy Focus shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.4% of Acuity Brands shares are owned by 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.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Energy Focus and Acuity Brands, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Energy Focus 0 2 2 0 2.50
Acuity Brands 2 3 10 0 2.53

Energy Focus presently has a consensus price target of $6.88, indicating a potential upside of 209.68%. Acuity Brands has a consensus price target of $220.64, indicating a potential upside of 7.49%. Given Energy Focus’ higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Energy Focus is more favorable than Acuity Brands.

Profitability

This table compares Energy Focus and Acuity Brands’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Energy Focus -72.79% -43.14% -36.42%
Acuity Brands 9.04% 19.89% 11.50%

Volatility & Risk

Energy Focus has a beta of -0.19, indicating that its stock price is 119% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Acuity Brands has a beta of 1.42, indicating that its stock price is 42% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Energy Focus and Acuity Brands’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Energy Focus $26.68 million 0.98 -$17.01 million ($1.67) -1.33
Acuity Brands $3.47 billion 2.55 $584.60 million $7.18 28.59

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

Summary

Acuity Brands beats Energy Focus on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Energy Focus Company Profile

Energy Focus, Inc. along with its subsidiaries is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, installation and sale of lighting systems. The Company is engaged in developing and selling of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting products for military maritime market, and general commercial and industrial markets. It produces, sources and/or markets a range of lighting technologies to serve its primary end markets. It offers military maritime products, such as Military Intellitube, military globe lights and military berth light to serve the United States navy and allied foreign navies. It offers commercial products, such as direct-wire tubular LED (TLED) replacements for linear fluorescent lamps, LED dock lights, low-bay and high-bay lighting for high-intensity discharge applications and LED retrofit kits to serve general commercial and industrial markets.

Acuity Brands Company Profile

Acuity Brands, Inc. is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications. The portfolio of lighting solutions include lighting products utilizing fluorescent, light emitting diode (LED), organic LED (OLED), high intensity discharge, metal halide, and incandescent light sources to illuminate a number of applications. The solutions portfolio of the Company also includes modular wiring, LED drivers, sensors, glass and inverters sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Its lighting and building management solutions are marketed under various brand names, including Lithonia Lighting and Holophane.

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