Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) and AdvanSix (NASDAQ:ASIX) are both basic materials companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, risk, valuation, profitability, institutional ownership, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Ecolab and AdvanSix, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ecolab 0 9 6 0 2.40
AdvanSix 0 0 1 0 3.00

Ecolab currently has a consensus target price of $133.23, suggesting a potential upside of 0.42%. AdvanSix has a consensus target price of $46.00, suggesting a potential upside of 2.52%. Given AdvanSix’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe AdvanSix is more favorable than Ecolab.

Profitability

This table compares Ecolab and AdvanSix’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ecolab 9.66% 18.93% 6.97%
AdvanSix 7.13% 40.03% 11.07%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Ecolab and AdvanSix’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ecolab $13.36 billion 2.87 $2.89 billion $4.38 30.29
AdvanSix $1.32 billion 1.04 $135.96 million N/A N/A

Ecolab has higher revenue and earnings than AdvanSix.

Dividends

Ecolab pays an annual dividend of $1.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.1%. AdvanSix does not pay a dividend. Ecolab pays out 33.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Ecolab has raised its dividend for 31 consecutive years.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

75.4% of Ecolab shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Ecolab shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

Ecolab beats AdvanSix on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Ecolab Company Profile

Ecolab Inc. provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s cleaning and sanitizing programs and products, pest elimination services and equipment maintenance and repair services support customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care and commercial facilities management sectors in over 170 countries. Its segments include Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, Other and Corporate. Its Global Industrial segment consists of the Water, Food and Beverage, Paper and Textile Care operating units. Its Global Institutional segment consists of the Institutional, Specialty and Healthcare operating units. The Global Energy segment provides on-site and technology-driven solutions to the global drilling, oil and gas production, refining, and petrochemical industries. The Company’s Other segment consists of the Pest Elimination and Equipment Care operating units.

AdvanSix Company Profile

AdvanSix Inc. is an integrated manufacturer of Nylon 6. The Company also sells a variety of other products, all of which are produced as part of the Nylon 6 resin manufacturing process primarily, including caprolactam, ammonium sulfate fertilizers and other chemical intermediates. The Company operates primarily through its integrated manufacturing sites located in Frankford, Pennsylvania, Hopewell, Virginia, and Chesterfield, Virginia. The Company offers ammonium sulfate, which is used by customers as a nitrogen-based fertilizer. It produces ammonium sulfate fertilizer as part of its manufacturing process. The Company manufactures ammonium sulfate fertilizers including Sulf-N and Sulf-N 26. The Company provides AdvanSix Aegis nylon resins and Aegis barrier nylon resins. Its nylon resins are a preferred choice in food, liquid, and consumer packaging along with mono/multifilament products, carpet fibers, automotive compounding and more. It offers Capran biaxially oriented nylon films.

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