Versum Materials (NYSE: VSM) and Platform Specialty Products (NYSE:PAH) are both mid-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, profitability, earnings, dividends, valuation, risk and institutional ownership.

Risk & Volatility

Versum Materials has a beta of 0.85, meaning that its share price is 15% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Platform Specialty Products has a beta of 3.19, meaning that its share price is 219% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Versum Materials and Platform Specialty Products’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Versum Materials $1.13 billion 3.55 $193.00 million $1.77 20.75
Platform Specialty Products $3.59 billion 0.76 -$73.70 million ($0.53) -17.85

Versum Materials has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Platform Specialty Products. Platform Specialty Products is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Versum Materials, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Versum Materials and Platform Specialty Products, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Versum Materials 0 4 6 0 2.60
Platform Specialty Products 0 3 6 0 2.67

Versum Materials currently has a consensus target price of $36.11, indicating a potential downside of 1.66%. Platform Specialty Products has a consensus target price of $13.11, indicating a potential upside of 38.60%. Given Platform Specialty Products’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Platform Specialty Products is more favorable than Versum Materials.

Dividends

Versum Materials pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Platform Specialty Products does not pay a dividend. Versum Materials pays out 11.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

90.4% of Versum Materials shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 93.5% of Platform Specialty Products shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.5% of Versum Materials shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.2% of Platform Specialty Products shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Versum Materials and Platform Specialty Products’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Versum Materials 17.13% -457.02% 17.84%
Platform Specialty Products -4.12% 7.45% 2.15%

Summary

Platform Specialty Products beats Versum Materials on 8 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Versum Materials Company Profile

Versum Materials, Inc. is a provider of solutions to the semiconductor and display industries. The Company is engaged in the development, manufacturing, transportation and handling of specialty materials. Its segments include Materials; Delivery Systems and Services (DS&S), and Corporate. The Materials segment is an integrated provider of specialty materials for the electronics industry, focusing on the integrated circuit and flat-panel display markets. The DS&S segment designs, manufactures, installs, operates, and maintains chemical and gas delivery and distribution systems for specialty gases and chemicals delivered directly to its customers’ manufacturing tools. The Company is engaged in molecular design and synthesis, purification, advanced analytics, formulation development and containers and delivery systems for the handling of high purity materials.

Platform Specialty Products Company Profile

Platform Specialty Products Corporation produces and sells specialty chemical products in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific, and Europe. It operates through two segments, Performance Solutions and Agricultural Solutions. The Performance Solutions segment offers plating products that are used to plate holes; electroless nickel products, which are applied to various metal and plastic surfaces; electronic assembly materials for use in the electronic market and residential boiler systems; final finishes that are used on printed circuit boards; circuit formation products for surface preparation; oxides, which are used in the fabrication of multilayer circuit boards; semiconductor materials and packaging products; and pre-treatment and cleaning solutions. This segment also provides functional conversion coatings that are applied to metals to enhance corrosion resistance and paint adhesion; hard-coated films, which are used for the membrane switch in the touch screen markets; production and drilling fluids used in subsea control systems; solid sheet printing elements for use in flexographic printing and platemaking processes; liquid products to produce printing plates; and printing equipment. The Agricultural Solutions segment offers fungicides and biofungicides to prevent the spread of fungi and other diseases in crops; herbicides to control unwanted plants; insecticides, bioinsecticides, and acaricides; biostimulants and nutrition products; and seed treatment products, which are applied to seed before planting, as well as animal health products, such as honey bee protective miticides and veterinary vaccines. The company was formerly known as Platform Acquisition Holdings Limited and changed its name to Platform Specialty Products Corporation in October 2013. Platform Specialty Products Corporation was founded in 1922 and is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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