Financial Comparison: SPX FLOW (FLOW) versus Proto Labs (PRLB)

SPX FLOW (NYSE: FLOW) and Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) are both industrial products companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings, risk and analyst recommendations.


This table compares SPX FLOW and Proto Labs’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SPX FLOW 1.17% 6.17% 1.90%
Proto Labs 14.53% 11.63% 10.54%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for SPX FLOW and Proto Labs, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SPX FLOW 2 1 3 0 2.17
Proto Labs 0 3 0 0 2.00

SPX FLOW currently has a consensus target price of $38.00, indicating a potential downside of 15.84%. Proto Labs has a consensus target price of $68.00, indicating a potential downside of 28.04%. Given SPX FLOW’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe SPX FLOW is more favorable than Proto Labs.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares SPX FLOW and Proto Labs’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SPX FLOW $2.00 billion 0.96 -$381.80 million $0.52 86.83
Proto Labs $298.05 million 8.45 $42.70 million $1.76 53.69

Proto Labs has lower revenue, but higher earnings than SPX FLOW. Proto Labs is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than SPX FLOW, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

85.8% of SPX FLOW shares are owned by institutional investors. 3.0% of SPX FLOW shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 7.8% of Proto Labs shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Risk & Volatility

SPX FLOW has a beta of 2.79, suggesting that its stock price is 179% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Proto Labs has a beta of 1.03, suggesting that its stock price is 3% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Proto Labs beats SPX FLOW on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

SPX FLOW Company Profile

SPX FLOW, Inc. is a global supplier of engineered solutions. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had operations in over 30 countries and sales in over 150 countries around the world. The Company operates in three business segments: Food and Beverage, Power and Energy, and Industrial. Its product portfolio of pumps, valves, mixers, filters, air dryers, hydraulic tools, homogenizers, separators and heat exchangers, along with the related aftermarket parts and services, supports global industries, including food and beverage, oil and gas, power generation, chemical processing, compressed air and mining. The Food and Beverage segment’s products include mixing, drying, evaporation and separation systems and components, heat exchangers, and reciprocating and centrifugal pump technologies. Its products in the Power and Energy segment include pumps, valves and the related accessories. Its products in the Industrial segment are filtration equipment, hydraulic technologies and heat exchangers.

Proto Labs Company Profile

Proto Labs, Inc. is an e-commerce driven digital manufacturer of on-demand three dimensional (3D) printed, computer numerical control (CNC) machined and injection-molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. The Company’s geographic segments include the United States, Europe and Japan. The Company targets its products to the product developers and engineers who use 3D computer-aided design (3D CAD) software to design products across a range of end markets. Its product lines include Injection Molding, CNC Machining and 3D Printing. Its Injection Molding product line is used for prototype, on-demand and short-run production. Its CNC Machining product line uses commercially available CNC machines to cut plastic or metal blocks into one or more custom parts based on the 3D CAD model uploaded by the product developer or engineer. Its 3D Printing product line includes stereolithography (SL), selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) processes.

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