Merit Medical Systems (NASDAQ: MMSI) and Patterson Companies (NASDAQ:PDCO) are both mid-cap medical companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, valuation, profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, risk and dividends.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

92.1% of Merit Medical Systems shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 89.6% of Patterson Companies shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.0% of Merit Medical Systems shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.5% of Patterson Companies shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Patterson Companies pays an annual dividend of $1.04 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. Merit Medical Systems does not pay a dividend. Patterson Companies pays out 58.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk and Volatility

Merit Medical Systems has a beta of 1.26, meaning that its stock price is 26% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Patterson Companies has a beta of 0.95, meaning that its stock price is 5% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Merit Medical Systems and Patterson Companies, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Merit Medical Systems 0 1 7 0 2.88
Patterson Companies 4 3 3 0 1.90

Merit Medical Systems presently has a consensus price target of $39.59, indicating a potential downside of 6.63%. Patterson Companies has a consensus price target of $43.43, indicating a potential upside of 12.16%. Given Patterson Companies’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Patterson Companies is more favorable than Merit Medical Systems.

Profitability

This table compares Merit Medical Systems and Patterson Companies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Merit Medical Systems 4.87% 9.78% 5.72%
Patterson Companies 3.06% 15.94% 6.30%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Merit Medical Systems and Patterson Companies’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Merit Medical Systems $672.31 million 3.15 $102.74 million $0.70 60.57
Patterson Companies $5.59 billion 0.65 $408.06 million $1.79 21.63

Patterson Companies has higher revenue and earnings than Merit Medical Systems. Patterson Companies is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Merit Medical Systems, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Merit Medical Systems beats Patterson Companies on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Merit Medical Systems Company Profile

Merit Medical Systems, Inc. is a manufacturer and marketer of disposable medical devices used in a range of interventional, diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures. The Company operates in two segments: cardiovascular and endoscopy. The cardiovascular segment consists of cardiology and radiology devices, which assist in diagnosing and treating coronary arterial disease, peripheral vascular disease and other non-vascular diseases, and includes embolotherapeutic, cardiac rhythm management (CRM), electrophysiology (EP), and interventional oncology and spine devices. Its endoscopy segment consists of gastroenterology and pulmonology medical devices, which assist in the palliative treatment of expanding esophageal, tracheobronchial and biliary strictures caused by malignant tumors. Within its segments, the Company offers products focused in four product groups: peripheral intervention, cardiac intervention, interventional oncology and spine, and endoscopy.

Patterson Companies Company Profile

Patterson Companies, Inc. is a value-added distributor focused on providing a customer experience to professionals in the dental and animal health markets. The Company operates through three segments: dental, animal health and corporate. Dental and Animal health are strategic business units that offer similar products and services to different customer bases. Dental provides a virtually complete range of consumable dental products, equipment and software and turnkey digital solutions. In addition it provides value-added services to dentists, dental laboratories, institutions and other healthcare professionals throughout North America. Animal health is a leading, full-line distributor of animal health products, services and technologies. Corporate segment is comprised of general and administrative expenses, including home office support costs in areas such as information technology, finance, legal, human resources and facilities.

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