West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE: WST) and AtriCure (NASDAQ:ATRC) are both medical equipment, supplies & distribution – nec companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, risk, earnings, analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership and profitability.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for West Pharmaceutical Services and AtriCure, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
West Pharmaceutical Services 0 2 2 0 2.50
AtriCure 0 1 6 0 2.86

West Pharmaceutical Services presently has a consensus target price of $106.00, indicating a potential upside of 8.45%. AtriCure has a consensus target price of $24.67, indicating a potential upside of 39.12%. Given AtriCure’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe AtriCure is more favorable than West Pharmaceutical Services.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares West Pharmaceutical Services and AtriCure’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
West Pharmaceutical Services $1.51 billion 4.81 $143.60 million $2.51 38.94
AtriCure $155.11 million 3.94 -$33.33 million ($1.02) -17.38

West Pharmaceutical Services has higher revenue and earnings than AtriCure. AtriCure is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than West Pharmaceutical Services, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

West Pharmaceutical Services has a beta of 1.12, suggesting that its stock price is 12% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, AtriCure has a beta of 0.66, suggesting that its stock price is 34% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

93.3% of West Pharmaceutical Services shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 86.2% of AtriCure shares are held by institutional investors. 1.9% of West Pharmaceutical Services shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 10.0% of AtriCure shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

West Pharmaceutical Services pays an annual dividend of $0.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.6%. AtriCure does not pay a dividend. West Pharmaceutical Services pays out 22.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. West Pharmaceutical Services has increased its dividend for 25 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares West Pharmaceutical Services and AtriCure’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
West Pharmaceutical Services 12.12% 14.47% 9.71%
AtriCure -19.40% -20.28% -12.20%

Summary

West Pharmaceutical Services beats AtriCure on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About West Pharmaceutical Services

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. is a manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products. The Company’s products include vial containment solutions, prefillable systems, self-injection platforms, cartridge systems and components, reconstitution and transfer systems, intradermal delivery solutions, specialty components, and contract manufacturing and analytical services. The Company’s segments include Proprietary Products and Contract-Manufactured Products. The Proprietary Products segment develops commercial and operational strategies across its global network, with specific emphasis on product offerings to biologic, generic and pharmaceutical drug customers. The Contract-Manufactured Products segment serves as an integrated business focused on the design, manufacture and automated assembly of various devices, primarily for pharmaceutical, diagnostic and medical device customers.

About AtriCure

AtriCure, Inc. is an atrial fibrillation (Afib) solutions company. The Company develops, manufactures, and sells devices designed primarily for the surgical ablation of cardiac tissue and systems designed for the exclusion of the left atrial appendage. It has various product lines for the ablation of cardiac tissue, including its Isolator Synergy Ablation System, for the treatment of persistent and longstanding persistent forms of Afib in patients undergoing certain open concomitant procedures. It has two primary product lines for cardiac tissue ablation, which include Radio Frequency Ablation Devices and cryoICE Cryoablation System, and a product line for left atrial appendage exclusion. The Company also sells Lumitip dissectors and the Estech line of reusable cardiac surgery (valve) instruments. Its cryoICE cryosurgery product line offers various cryoablation devices. Its AtriClip Left Atrial Appendage Exclusion System is designed to occlude the heart’s left atrial appendage (LAA).

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