Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) and Herbalife LTD. (NYSE:HLF) are both mid-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, profitabiliy, risk, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership and valuation.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Unilever PLC and Herbalife LTD.’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Unilever PLC $62.97 billion 2.54 $11.26 billion N/A N/A
Herbalife LTD. $4.42 billion 1.40 $727.70 million $4.76 13.85

Unilever PLC has higher revenue and earnings than Herbalife LTD..

Institutional & Insider Ownership

8.4% of Unilever PLC shares are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of Unilever PLC shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.0% of Herbalife LTD. shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.


This table compares Unilever PLC and Herbalife LTD.’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Unilever PLC N/A N/A N/A
Herbalife LTD. 9.28% 216.82% 14.15%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Unilever PLC and Herbalife LTD., as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Unilever PLC 2 3 5 0 2.30
Herbalife LTD. 0 2 2 0 2.50

Unilever PLC presently has a consensus target price of $26.00, indicating a potential downside of 54.29%. Herbalife LTD. has a consensus target price of $86.33, indicating a potential upside of 30.93%. Given Herbalife LTD.’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Herbalife LTD. is more favorable than Unilever PLC.


Unilever PLC pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. Herbalife LTD. does not pay a dividend.

Volatility and Risk

Unilever PLC has a beta of 0.88, suggesting that its share price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Herbalife LTD. has a beta of 1.2, suggesting that its share price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500.

About Unilever PLC

Unilever PLC is a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company. The Company’s segments include Personal Care, which primarily includes sales of skin care and hair care products, deodorants and oral care products; Foods, which primarily includes sales of soups, bouillons, sauces, snacks, mayonnaise, salad dressings, margarines and spreads; Home Care, which primarily includes sales of home care products, such as powders, liquids and capsules, soap bars and a range of cleaning products, and Refreshment, which primarily includes sales of ice cream and tea-based beverages. The Company’s geographical segments include Asia/AMET/RUB, The Americas and Europe. Its brands include Axe, Dirt is Good (Omo), Dove, Family Goodness (Rama), Heartbrand (Wall’s), Hellmann’s, Knorr, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Rexona, Sunsilk and Surf. The Company operates in more than 100 countries, selling its products in more than 190 countries. The Company operates approximately 310 factories in over 70 countries.

About Herbalife LTD.

Herbalife Ltd. is a global nutrition company. The Company develops and sells weight management, healthy meals and snacks, sports and fitness, energy and targeted nutritional products, as well as personal care products. Its operating segments are based on geographical operations in six regions: North America; Mexico; South and Central America; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); Asia Pacific, and China. The Company categorizes its products into five groups: weight management, targeted nutrition, energy, sports and fitness, outer nutrition, and literature, promotional and other. As of December 31, 2016, it marketed and sold approximately 140 products encompassing over 4,700 stock keeping units (SKUs) globally. Its product categories include meal replacement; protein shakes; drink mixes; dietary and nutritional supplements containing herbs, vitamins, minerals and other natural ingredients; facial skin care; body care; hair care products; sales tools, and educational materials.

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