Greif (NYSE: GEF) and Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) are both mid-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, risk, valuation, institutional ownership, earnings, analyst recommendations and profitabiliy.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Greif and Ball Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Greif 1 2 4 0 2.43
Ball Corporation 0 5 4 0 2.44

Greif presently has a consensus target price of $55.80, indicating a potential downside of 2.92%. Ball Corporation has a consensus target price of $43.81, indicating a potential upside of 6.42%. Given Ball Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Ball Corporation is more favorable than Greif.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Greif and Ball Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Greif $3.42 billion 0.43 $447.50 million $1.63 35.26
Ball Corporation $9.78 billion 1.48 $1.46 billion $0.51 80.73

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

Institutional & Insider Ownership

48.9% of Greif shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 46.6% of Ball Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 16.4% of Greif shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.7% of Ball Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

Greif pays an annual dividend of $1.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. Ball Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Greif pays out 103.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Ball Corporation pays out 78.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Profitability

This table compares Greif and Ball Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Greif 4.50% 14.44% 4.98%
Ball Corporation 1.70% 17.54% 3.91%

Volatility & Risk

Greif has a beta of 1.37, meaning that its stock price is 37% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ball Corporation has a beta of 0.95, meaning that its stock price is 5% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Ball Corporation beats Greif on 8 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Greif

Greif, Inc. is a producer of industrial packaging products and services. The Company’s segments are Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services; Paper Packaging & Services; Flexible Products & Services, and Land Management. The Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services segment is engaged in the production and sale of rigid industrial packaging products, and services, such as container life cycle management, filling, logistics, warehousing and other packaging services. The Paper Packaging & Services segment is engaged in the production and sale of containerboard, corrugated sheets, corrugated containers and other corrugated products. The Flexible Products & Services segment is engaged in the production and sale of flexible intermediate bulk containers and related services on a global basis. The Land Management segment is involved in the management and sale of timber. As of October 31, 2016, the Company had operations in over 45 countries.

About Ball Corporation

Ball Corporation is a supplier of metal packaging to the beverage, food, personal care and household products industries. The Company’s packaging products are produced for a range of end uses and are manufactured in facilities around the world. Its segments include beverage packaging, North and Central America; beverage packaging, South America; beverage packaging, Europe; food and aerosol packaging; aerospace, and other. Its major product line is aluminum and steel beverage containers. It produces steel food, aerosol and extruded aluminum aerosol containers and aluminum slugs. Its aerospace business designs, develops and manufactures aerospace systems for civil, commercial and national cyber security aerospace markets. It produces spacecraft, instruments and sensors, radio frequency systems and components, data exploitation solutions and a range of aerospace technologies and products.

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