Mesa Laboratories (NASDAQ: MLAB) and Perceptron (NASDAQ:PRCP) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, dividends, valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings and risk.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Mesa Laboratories and Perceptron’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Mesa Laboratories $95.22 million 5.39 $25.86 million $2.79 48.90
Perceptron $77.95 million 0.91 $4.03 million ($0.01) -752.00

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

67.2% of Mesa Laboratories shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 63.2% of Perceptron shares are held by institutional investors. 17.0% of Mesa Laboratories shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 10.3% of Perceptron shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Mesa Laboratories and Perceptron, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Mesa Laboratories 0 0 1 0 3.00
Perceptron 0 0 1 0 3.00

Perceptron has a consensus price target of $9.00, suggesting a potential upside of 19.68%. Given Perceptron’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Perceptron is more favorable than Mesa Laboratories.

Dividends

Mesa Laboratories pays an annual dividend of $0.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Perceptron does not pay a dividend. Mesa Laboratories pays out 22.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Profitability

This table compares Mesa Laboratories and Perceptron’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Mesa Laboratories 11.31% 16.58% 9.37%
Perceptron -0.22% 1.02% 0.59%

Risk and Volatility

Mesa Laboratories has a beta of 0.48, suggesting that its share price is 52% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Perceptron has a beta of 0.52, suggesting that its share price is 48% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Mesa Laboratories beats Perceptron on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Mesa Laboratories

Mesa Laboratories, Inc. is focused primarily on quality control products and services. The Company operates through four segments: Instruments, Continuous Monitoring, Biological Indicators and Cold Chain. The Instruments Division designs, manufactures and markets quality control instruments and disposable products. Its Biological Indicators Division provides testing services, along with the manufacturing and marketing of biological indicators and distribution of chemical indicators used to assess the effectiveness of sterilization processes. Its Continuous Monitoring Division designs, develops and markets systems, which are used to monitor various environmental parameters. Its Cold Chain Division provides parameter (primarily temperature) monitoring of products in a cold chain. The Company’s brands include DataTrace, DialyGuard, DryCal, Torqo, SureTorque, BGI, Mesa, PCD, Apex, CheckPoint, Mesa and TempTrust.

About Perceptron

Perceptron, Inc. develops, produces and sells a range of automated industrial metrology products and solutions to manufacturing organizations for dimensional gauging, dimensional inspection and three-dimensional (3D) scanning. The Company’s products include 3D machine vision solutions, robot guidance, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), laser scanning and advanced analysis software. The Company’s products are categorized as In-Line, Near-Line and Off-Line Measurement Solutions (Measurement Solutions); 3D Scanning Solutions, and Value Added Services. Its In-Line and Near-Line measurement solutions include AutoGauge, AutoFit, AutoScan, AutoGuide and Helix. Its Off-Line measurement solutions include Coord3 and TouchDMIS. Its 3D Scanning Solutions include ScanWorks, ScanR and WheelWorks. Its Value Added Services include training, field service, calibration, launch support services, maintenance agreements and repairs. The Company operates in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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