IDACORP (NYSE: IDA) and UNITIL Corporation (NYSE:UTL) are both utilities companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings, dividends, analyst recommendations and risk.

Dividends

IDACORP pays an annual dividend of $2.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. UNITIL Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.44 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. IDACORP pays out 55.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. UNITIL Corporation pays out 68.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. IDACORP has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years and UNITIL Corporation has increased its dividend for 2 consecutive years.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings for IDACORP and UNITIL Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
IDACORP 0 2 0 0 2.00
UNITIL Corporation 0 1 0 0 2.00

IDACORP presently has a consensus price target of $75.00, indicating a potential downside of 15.83%. UNITIL Corporation has a consensus price target of $47.00, indicating a potential downside of 4.70%. Given UNITIL Corporation’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe UNITIL Corporation is more favorable than IDACORP.

Volatility & Risk

IDACORP has a beta of 0.51, suggesting that its share price is 49% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, UNITIL Corporation has a beta of 0.22, suggesting that its share price is 78% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

76.0% of IDACORP shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 59.4% of UNITIL Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 0.7% of IDACORP shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.5% of UNITIL Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares IDACORP and UNITIL Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
IDACORP 15.31% 9.20% 3.20%
UNITIL Corporation 7.52% 9.88% 2.61%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares IDACORP and UNITIL Corporation’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
IDACORP $1.30 billion 3.45 $438.95 million $3.96 22.50
UNITIL Corporation $389.90 million 1.79 $116.50 million $2.09 23.60

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

Summary

IDACORP beats UNITIL Corporation on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

IDACORP Company Profile

IDACORP, Inc. is a holding company. The Company’s principal operating subsidiary is Idaho Power Company (Idaho Power). The Company’s segment is utility operations. The utility operations segment’s primary source of revenue is the regulated operations of Idaho Power. Idaho Power is an electric utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution, sale and purchase of electric energy and capacity. Idaho Power is the parent of Idaho Energy Resources Co. (IERCo), a joint venturer in Bridger Coal Company, which mines and supplies coal to the Jim Bridger generating plant owned in part by Idaho Power. Its subsidiaries also include IDACORP Financial Services, Inc., an investor in affordable housing and other real estate investments, and Ida-West Energy Company, an operator of small hydroelectric generation projects. As of December 31, 2016, Idaho Power provided electric utility service to approximately 535,000 general business customers in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon.

UNITIL Corporation Company Profile

Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company. The Company’s principal business is the local distribution of electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts and the local distribution of natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts. Its segments include utility gas operations, utility electric operations and non-regulated. Its operations include natural gas operations; natural gas distribution utility operations; gas transmission pipeline operations; electric distribution utility operations, and non-regulated and other non-utility operations. As of December 31, 2016, it was engaged in the distribution of electricity and natural gas to approximately 184,200 customers throughout its service territories in the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

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