WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) and Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) are both mid-cap utilities companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, profitability, valuation, analyst recommendations, risk and dividends.

Dividends

WEC Energy Group pays an annual dividend of $2.08 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Ormat Technologies pays an annual dividend of $0.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. WEC Energy Group pays out 68.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Ormat Technologies pays out 13.7% 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. Ormat Technologies has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares WEC Energy Group and Ormat Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
WEC Energy Group 12.79% 10.62% 3.18%
Ormat Technologies 16.99% 9.41% 4.58%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares WEC Energy Group and Ormat Technologies’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
WEC Energy Group $7.47 billion 2.67 $940.20 million $3.04 20.77
Ormat Technologies $662.59 million 5.01 $93.93 million $2.33 28.14

WEC Energy Group has higher revenue and earnings than Ormat Technologies. WEC Energy Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ormat Technologies, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

72.6% of WEC Energy Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 46.3% of Ormat Technologies shares are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of WEC Energy Group shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 14.7% of Ormat Technologies shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility and Risk

WEC Energy Group has a beta of 0.15, indicating that its share price is 85% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ormat Technologies has a beta of 1.23, indicating that its share price is 23% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for WEC Energy Group and Ormat Technologies, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
WEC Energy Group 1 7 1 0 2.00
Ormat Technologies 0 1 5 0 2.83

WEC Energy Group currently has a consensus target price of $65.75, suggesting a potential upside of 4.12%. Ormat Technologies has a consensus target price of $68.17, suggesting a potential upside of 3.96%. Given WEC Energy Group’s higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe WEC Energy Group is more favorable than Ormat Technologies.

Summary

Ormat Technologies beats WEC Energy Group on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

WEC Energy Group Company Profile

WEC Energy Group, Inc. was a diversified holding company with natural gas and electric utility operations, an approximately 60% equity ownership interest in American Transmission Company LLC, and non-utility electric operations through its We Power business, as of December 31, 2016. Its segments include Wisconsin; Illinois; Other States; Electric Transmission; We Power, and Corporate and Other. Wisconsin includes the electric and natural gas utility operations of Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Gas LLC, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, including WE’s and WPS’s electric and natural gas operations in the state of Michigan. Illinois includes the natural gas utility and non-utility operations of The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company and North Shore Gas Company. Other states includes the natural gas utility and non-utility operations of Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation and Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation.

Ormat Technologies Company Profile

Ormat Technologies, Inc. is engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business. The Company designs, develops, builds, owns and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants. Its equipment manufacturing operations are located in Israel. It conducts its business activities in two business segments: Electricity segment and Product segment. The Electricity segment develops, builds, owns and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants in the United States and geothermal power plants in other countries around the world, and sells the electricity it generates. The Product Segment designs, manufactures and sells equipment for geothermal and recovered energy-based electricity generation and remote power units, and provide services relating to the engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of geothermal, and recovered energy-based power plants. It manufactures products that produce electricity from recovered energy or waste heat.

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