USD Partners (NYSE: USDP) and Argan (NYSE:AGX) are both small-cap transportation companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, risk, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability and dividends.

Dividends

USD Partners pays an annual dividend of $1.38 per share and has a dividend yield of 13.1%. Argan pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.5%. USD Partners pays out 112.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Argan pays out 18.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility & Risk

USD Partners has a beta of 1.01, indicating that its share price is 1% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Argan has a beta of 0.93, indicating that its share price is 7% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

30.1% of USD Partners shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 86.8% of Argan shares are held by institutional investors. 2.6% of USD Partners shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 9.5% of Argan shares are held by 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.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for USD Partners and Argan, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
USD Partners 1 0 1 0 2.00
Argan 0 2 1 0 2.33

USD Partners presently has a consensus price target of $17.00, suggesting a potential upside of 61.14%. Argan has a consensus price target of $71.00, suggesting a potential upside of 6.13%. Given USD Partners’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe USD Partners is more favorable than Argan.

Profitability

This table compares USD Partners and Argan’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
USD Partners 21.37% 42.91% 7.72%
Argan 9.88% 28.23% 13.19%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares USD Partners and Argan’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
USD Partners $111.13 million 2.46 $24.17 million $1.23 8.58
Argan $675.05 million 1.54 $70.32 million $5.48 12.21

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

Summary

Argan beats USD Partners on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

USD Partners Company Profile

USD Partners LP acquires, develops and operates energy-related logistics assets, including rail terminals and other midstream infrastructure. The Company’s segments include Terminalling services and Fleet services. The Terminalling services segment consists of various operations, including Hardisty terminal, Casper terminal and Ethanol terminals. Its Hardisty terminal is an origination terminal where it loads various grades of Canadian crude oil onto railcars for transportation to end markets. The Casper terminal is a crude oil storage, blending and railcar loading terminal located in Casper, Wyoming. Its San Antonio and West Colton terminals are unit train-capable destination terminals that transload ethanol received by rail from producers onto trucks to meet local ethanol demand. The Company provides its customers with railcars and fleet services related to the transportation of liquid hydrocarbons and biofuels by rail under master fleet services agreements.

Argan Company Profile

Argan, Inc. is a holding company. The Company conducts operations through its subsidiaries, Gemma Power Systems, LLC and affiliates (GPS), Atlantic Projects Company Limited (APC), Southern Maryland Cable, Inc. (SMC) and The Roberts Company (Roberts). Through GPS and APC, the Company’s power industry services segment provides engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations management, maintenance, development, technical and consulting services to the power generation and renewable energy markets. Through SMC, the telecommunications infrastructure services segment of the Company provides project management, construction, installation and maintenance services to commercial, local government and federal government customers. Through Roberts, the Company’s industrial fabrication and field services segment produces, delivers and installs fabricated steel components specializing in pressure vessels and heat exchangers for industrial plants.

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