Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI) and General Growth Properties (NYSE:GGP) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitability, earnings, risk, dividends, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Risk and Volatility

Weingarten Realty Investors has a beta of 0.72, indicating that its stock price is 28% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, General Growth Properties has a beta of 0.77, indicating that its stock price is 23% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

80.3% of Weingarten Realty Investors shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.3% of General Growth Properties shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.3% of Weingarten Realty Investors shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 35.6% of General Growth Properties shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Weingarten Realty Investors and General Growth Properties’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Weingarten Realty Investors $571.15 million 7.17 $367.56 million $1.47 21.71
General Growth Properties $2.51 billion 7.43 $1.76 billion $1.19 17.77

General Growth Properties has higher revenue and earnings than Weingarten Realty Investors. General Growth Properties is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Weingarten Realty Investors, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Weingarten Realty Investors and General Growth Properties, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Weingarten Realty Investors 1 2 1 0 2.00
General Growth Properties 1 5 5 0 2.36

Weingarten Realty Investors currently has a consensus price target of $33.50, indicating a potential upside of 4.98%. General Growth Properties has a consensus price target of $25.73, indicating a potential upside of 21.64%. Given General Growth Properties’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe General Growth Properties is more favorable than Weingarten Realty Investors.

Profitability

This table compares Weingarten Realty Investors and General Growth Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Weingarten Realty Investors 33.57% 11.03% 4.36%
General Growth Properties 50.01% 13.57% 5.07%

Dividends

Weingarten Realty Investors pays an annual dividend of $1.54 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.8%. General Growth Properties pays an annual dividend of $0.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.2%. Weingarten Realty Investors pays out 104.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. General Growth Properties pays out 73.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Weingarten Realty Investors has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years and General Growth Properties has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years. Weingarten Realty Investors is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

General Growth Properties beats Weingarten Realty Investors on 13 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Weingarten Realty Investors

Weingarten Realty Investors is a real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company’s primary business is leasing space to tenants in the shopping centers it owns or leases. The Company also provides property management services. The Company is in the business of owning, managing and developing retail shopping centers. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through its interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 220 centers, primarily neighborhood and community shopping centers, which were located in 18 states spanning the country from coast to coast with approximately 44.7 million square feet of gross leasable area. Its centers are located principally in the South, West Coast and Southeast Coast of the United States with concentrations in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. It also owned interests in 28 parcels of land that totaled approximately 19.8 million square feet, as of December 31, 2016.

About General Growth Properties

GGP Inc. (GGP), formerly General Growth Properties, Inc., is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company operates as a holding company, which is engaged in the operation, development and management of retail and other rental properties, primarily regional malls. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned, either entirely or with joint venture partners, 127 retail properties located throughout the United States comprising approximately 125 million square feet of gross leasable area (GLA). As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s retail properties included 200 Lafayette, The Shoppes at Buckland Hills, Northridge Fashion Center, Brass Mill Center, Jordan Creek Town Center, Westroads Mall and Stonestown Galleria. The Company’s business is conducted through GGP Operating Partnership, LP (GGPOP), GGP Nimbus, LP (GGPN) and GGP Limited Partnership (GGPLP, and together with GGPN and GGPOP, the Operating Partnerships), subsidiaries of GGP.

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