Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) and Columbia Property Trust (NYSE:CXP) are both mid-cap financials companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, dividends, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations, valuation and institutional ownership.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Liberty Property Trust and Columbia Property Trust’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Liberty Property Trust $746.71 million 8.67 $356.81 million $2.37 18.54
Columbia Property Trust $473.54 million 5.72 $84.28 million $1.68 13.46

Liberty Property Trust has higher revenue and earnings than Columbia Property Trust. Columbia Property Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Liberty Property Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

91.5% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 67.4% of Columbia Property Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.5% of Columbia Property Trust shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Liberty Property Trust and Columbia Property Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Liberty Property Trust 47.78% 11.41% 5.69%
Columbia Property Trust 63.37% 8.10% 4.91%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Liberty Property Trust and Columbia Property Trust, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Liberty Property Trust 1 5 3 0 2.22
Columbia Property Trust 0 3 5 0 2.63

Liberty Property Trust presently has a consensus price target of $43.33, suggesting a potential downside of 1.38%. Columbia Property Trust has a consensus price target of $23.86, suggesting a potential upside of 5.52%. Given Columbia Property Trust’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Columbia Property Trust is more favorable than Liberty Property Trust.

Volatility & Risk

Liberty Property Trust has a beta of 0.88, meaning that its share price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Columbia Property Trust has a beta of 1.17, meaning that its share price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Liberty Property Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Columbia Property Trust pays an annual dividend of $0.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.5%. Liberty Property Trust pays out 67.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Columbia Property Trust pays out 47.6% 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. Columbia Property Trust has raised its dividend for 2 consecutive years.

Summary

Liberty Property Trust beats Columbia Property Trust on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Liberty Property Trust Company Profile

Liberty Property Trust (the Trust) is a self-administered and self-managed Maryland real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust’s assets are owned directly or indirectly, and substantially all of the Trust’s operations are conducted directly or indirectly, by its subsidiary, Liberty Property Limited Partnership (the Operating Partnership). The Company’s segments include Carolinas/Richmond; Chicago/Milwaukee; Florida; Houston; Lehigh/Central PA; Minnesota; Philadelphia; Southeastern PA; United Kingdom, and Other, which includes Arizona; Atlanta; Cincinnati/Columbus/Indianapolis; Dallas; DC Metro; New Jersey; Southern California, and other. The Company owns and operates industrial properties nationally and owns and operates office properties in a focused group of office markets. Additionally, the Company owns certain assets in the United Kingdom. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned and operated 450 industrial and 55 office properties totaling 86.0 million square feet.

Columbia Property Trust Company Profile

Columbia Property Trust, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT), which owns and operates commercial real estate properties. The Company’s primary objective is to generate long-term shareholder returns from a combination of steadily growing cash flows and appreciation in its net asset values, through the acquisition and ownership of office buildings located principally in high-barrier-to-entry markets. The Company’s segments include New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles and all other office markets. The all other office markets segment consists of properties in similar, low-barrier to entry geographic locations, in which the Company does not plan to make further investments. The Company conducts its business primarily through Columbia Property Trust Operating Partnership, L.P. (Columbia Property Trust OP), which acquires, develops, owns, leases and operates real properties directly through subsidiaries or through joint ventures.

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