Exterran (NYSE: EXTN) and Carbo Ceramics (NYSE:CRR) are both small-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability and dividends.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Exterran and Carbo Ceramics, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Exterran 0 2 0 0 2.00
Carbo Ceramics 1 5 1 0 2.00

Exterran currently has a consensus target price of $28.00, suggesting a potential downside of 6.85%. Carbo Ceramics has a consensus target price of $11.00, suggesting a potential upside of 14.11%. Given Carbo Ceramics’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Carbo Ceramics is more favorable than Exterran.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

88.7% of Exterran shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.4% of Carbo Ceramics shares are held by institutional investors. 2.2% of Exterran shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 16.2% of Carbo Ceramics shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Exterran and Carbo Ceramics’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Exterran $1.03 billion 1.05 -$227.93 million ($0.02) -1,503.00
Carbo Ceramics $103.05 million 2.54 -$80.12 million ($4.69) -2.06

Carbo Ceramics has lower revenue, but higher earnings than Exterran. Exterran is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Carbo Ceramics, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Exterran has a beta of 1.24, suggesting that its stock price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Carbo Ceramics has a beta of 2, suggesting that its stock price is 100% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Exterran and Carbo Ceramics’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Exterran 0.04% -2.82% -1.11%
Carbo Ceramics -79.49% -16.48% -13.73%

About Exterran

Exterran Corporation provides compression, production and processing products and services that support the production and transportation of oil and natural gas around the world. The Company operates through three segments: contract operations, aftermarket services, and oil and gas product sales. The contract operations segment provides natural gas compression services, production and processing equipment services, and maintenance services to meet specific customer requirements on assets owned by it. The aftermarket services segment provides a range of services to support the surface production, compression and processing needs of customers, from parts sales and normal maintenance services to full operation of a customer’s owned assets. The oil and gas product sales segment provides design, engineering, manufacturing, installation and sale of natural gas compression units, and accessories and equipment used in the production, treating and processing of crude oil and natural gas.

About Carbo Ceramics

CARBO Ceramics Inc. is a technology company that provides products and services to the global oil and gas and industrial markets. The Company operates through two segments: Oilfield Technologies and Services, and Environmental Products and Services. The Company’s oilfield technologies and services segment includes the manufacturing and selling of proppant products for use primarily in the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells, Fracpro software for the design of fracture treatments, and StrataGen consulting services for the optimizing of well completions. The Company’s environmental products and services segment is intended to protect operators’ assets, minimize environmental risks, and lower lease operating expense (LOE). The Company, through Asset Guard Products Inc. (AGPI), provides spill prevention, containment and countermeasure systems for the oil and gas industry. The Company manufactures various ceramic proppants.

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