Sensient Technologies Corporation (NYSE: SXT) and W.R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA) are both mid-cap basic materials companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, earnings and dividends.

Risk and Volatility

Sensient Technologies Corporation has a beta of 1.08, indicating that its share price is 8% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, W.R. Grace & Co. has a beta of 1.2, indicating that its share price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Sensient Technologies Corporation and W.R. Grace & Co.’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Sensient Technologies Corporation 7.89% 17.34% 8.85%
W.R. Grace & Co. 8.54% 48.21% 6.43%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

88.6% of Sensient Technologies Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 84.7% of W.R. Grace & Co. shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.0% of Sensient Technologies Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.3% of W.R. Grace & Co. shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Sensient Technologies Corporation and W.R. Grace & Co.’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Sensient Technologies Corporation $1.36 billion 2.45 $247.07 million $2.42 31.43
W.R. Grace & Co. $1.67 billion 3.12 $371.30 million $2.13 35.91

W.R. Grace & Co. has higher revenue and earnings than Sensient Technologies Corporation. Sensient Technologies Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than W.R. Grace & Co., indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Sensient Technologies Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. W.R. Grace & Co. pays an annual dividend of $0.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.1%. Sensient Technologies Corporation pays out 49.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. W.R. Grace & Co. pays out 39.4% 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. W.R. Grace & Co. has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Sensient Technologies Corporation and W.R. Grace & Co., as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Sensient Technologies Corporation 0 0 2 0 3.00
W.R. Grace & Co. 0 3 7 0 2.70

Sensient Technologies Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $89.15, suggesting a potential upside of 17.23%. W.R. Grace & Co. has a consensus price target of $81.00, suggesting a potential upside of 5.90%. Given Sensient Technologies Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Sensient Technologies Corporation is more favorable than W.R. Grace & Co..

Summary

W.R. Grace & Co. beats Sensient Technologies Corporation on 11 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Sensient Technologies Corporation Company Profile

Sensient Technologies Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of colors, flavors and fragrances. The Company uses technologies at facilities around the world to develop specialty food and beverage systems, cosmetic and pharmaceutical systems, specialty inks and colors, and other specialty and fine chemicals. The Company’s three segments include the Flavors & Fragrances Group and the Color Group, which are managed on a product-and-services basis, and the Asia Pacific Group, which is managed on a geographic basis. The Company’s principal products include flavors, flavor enhancers and bionutrients; fragrances, aroma chemicals and essential oils; natural ingredients, including dehydrated vegetables and other food ingredients; natural and synthetic food and beverage colors; cosmetic colors and ingredients and pharmaceutical excipients and ingredients, and technical colors, specialty inks and colors, and specialty dyes and pigments.

W.R. Grace & Co. Company Profile

W. R. Grace & Co. (Grace) is engaged in the production and sale of specialty chemicals and specialty materials. The Company operates in two segments: Grace Catalysts Technologies and Grace Materials Technologies. The Grace Catalysts Technologies segment includes catalysts and related products and technologies used in refining, petrochemical and other chemical manufacturing applications. The Grace Materials Technologies segment includes specialty materials, including silica-based and silica-alumina-based materials, used in coatings, consumer, industrial, and pharmaceutical applications. It Grace Catalysts Technologies segment produces and sells catalysts and related products and technologies used in refining, petrochemical and other chemical manufacturing applications, including Fluid catalytic cracking catalysts (FCC), Hydroprocessing catalysts (HPC), and Polyolefin catalysts and catalyst supports.

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