Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE: SQM) and Compass Minerals International (NYSE:CMP) are both mid-cap basic materials companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, risk, analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership, profitabiliy and earnings.

Risk & Volatility

Sociedad Quimica y Minera has a beta of 1.06, indicating that its stock price is 6% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Compass Minerals International has a beta of 0.45, indicating that its stock price is 55% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Sociedad Quimica y Minera and Compass Minerals International’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Sociedad Quimica y Minera 15.53% 13.99% 7.57%
Compass Minerals International 11.40% 11.86% 3.88%

Dividends

Sociedad Quimica y Minera pays an annual dividend of $1.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. Compass Minerals International pays an annual dividend of $2.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.2%. Sociedad Quimica y Minera pays out 94.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Compass Minerals International pays out 72.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Sociedad Quimica y Minera has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years and Compass Minerals International has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years. Compass Minerals International is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Sociedad Quimica y Minera and Compass Minerals International, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Sociedad Quimica y Minera 0 4 1 0 2.20
Compass Minerals International 0 2 0 0 2.00

Sociedad Quimica y Minera presently has a consensus price target of $36.00, suggesting a potential downside of 15.87%. Compass Minerals International has a consensus price target of $69.00, suggesting a potential upside of 1.77%. Given Compass Minerals International’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Compass Minerals International is more favorable than Sociedad Quimica y Minera.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

16.0% of Sociedad Quimica y Minera shares are held by institutional investors. 0.8% of Compass Minerals International shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Sociedad Quimica y Minera and Compass Minerals International’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Sociedad Quimica y Minera $2.08 billion 5.41 $810.31 million $1.23 34.79
Compass Minerals International $1.18 billion 1.94 $250.70 million $3.95 17.16

Sociedad Quimica y Minera has higher revenue and earnings than Compass Minerals International. Compass Minerals International is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Sociedad Quimica y Minera, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Sociedad Quimica y Minera beats Compass Minerals International on 11 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Sociedad Quimica y Minera Company Profile

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), is a producer of potassium nitrate and iodine. The Company produces specialty plant nutrients, iodine derivatives, lithium and its derivatives, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and certain industrial chemicals. Its segments include specialty plant nutrients, industrial chemicals, iodine and derivatives, lithium and derivatives, potassium, and other products and services. Specialty plant nutrients are fertilizers that enable farmers to improve yields and the quality of certain crops. Industrial chemicals have a range of applications in chemical processes, such as the manufacturing of glass and industrial nitrates. Iodine and its derivatives are used in the X-ray contrast media and biocides industries, among others. Lithium and its derivatives are used in batteries, greases and frits for production of ceramics. Potassium chloride is a commodity fertilizer that is produced and sold by the Company across the world.

Compass Minerals International Company Profile

Compass Minerals International, Inc. (CMI) is a provider of essential minerals that solve nature’s challenges, including salt for winter roadway safety and other consumer, industrial and agricultural uses; specialty plant nutrition minerals for the quality and yield of crops, and specialty chemicals for water treatment and other industrial processes. The Company has three segments: Salt, Plant Nutrition North America and Plant Nutrition South America. The Salt segment produces and markets salt and magnesium chloride for use in road deicing and dust control, food processing, water softeners, and agricultural and industrial applications. Its Plant Nutrition North America segment includes sales of sulfate of potash (SOP) specialty fertilizer and micronutrients. The Plant Nutrition South America segment operates two primary businesses in Brazil: agricultural productivity and chemical solutions.

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