Contrasting Airgas (ARG) and Albemarle Corporation (ALB)

Airgas (NYSE: ARG) and Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) are both basic materials companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, earnings, institutional ownership, valuation, dividends and profitability.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Airgas and Albemarle Corporation’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Airgas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Albemarle Corporation $2.81 billion 4.90 $744.58 million $7.80 15.98

Albemarle Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Airgas.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for Airgas and Albemarle Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Airgas 0 0 0 0 N/A
Albemarle Corporation 0 4 11 1 2.81

Albemarle Corporation has a consensus price target of $110.56, suggesting a potential downside of 11.29%. Given Albemarle Corporation’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Albemarle Corporation is more favorable than Airgas.

Profitability

This table compares Airgas and Albemarle Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Airgas 5.98% 15.44% 5.04%
Albemarle Corporation 31.49% 11.59% 5.42%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

84.0% of Albemarle Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.7% of Albemarle Corporation shares are owned 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.

Dividends

Albemarle Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.28 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Airgas does not pay a dividend. Albemarle Corporation pays out 16.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Airgas has raised its dividend for 14 consecutive years and Albemarle Corporation has raised its dividend for 13 consecutive years.

Summary

Albemarle Corporation beats Airgas on 9 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Airgas

Airgas, Inc. is a supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hard goods, such as welding equipment and related products. The Company is also a producer of atmospheric gases, carbon dioxide, dry ice and nitrous oxide and a supplier of safety products, refrigerants, ammonia products and process chemicals. It operates through two segments: Distribution and All Other Operations. The Distribution segment offers a portfolio of related gas and hard goods products and services to the end customers. The All Other Operations segment consists of five business units which manufacture or distribute carbon dioxide, dry ice, nitrous oxide, ammonia and refrigerant gases. It also offers supply chain management services and solutions, and product and process technical support across many customer segments. It markets its products and services through multiple sales channels, including branch-based sales representatives, retail stores and strategic customer account programs, among others.

About Albemarle Corporation

Albemarle Corporation is a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals. The Company operates through three segments: Lithium and Advanced Materials, Bromine Specialties and Refining Solutions. Lithium and Advanced Materials segment consist of two product categories: Lithium and Performance Catalyst Solutions. The bromine and bromine-based business includes products used in fire safety solutions and other specialty chemicals applications. The Company serves various end markets, including petroleum refining, consumer electronics, energy storage, construction, automotive, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food safety and custom chemistry services. As of December 31, 2016, the Company and its joint ventures operated 31 production and research and development (R&D) facilities, as well as a number of administrative and sales offices, around the world.

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