Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE: CLD) and Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. (NASDAQ:AHGP) are both small-cap energy companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, institutional ownership, risk, valuation, profitabiliy and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Cloud Peak Energy and Alliance Holdings GP, L.P., as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Cloud Peak Energy 0 7 2 0 2.22
Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. 0 0 0 0 N/A

Cloud Peak Energy presently has a consensus price target of $5.29, indicating a potential upside of 68.87%. Given Cloud Peak Energy’s higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Cloud Peak Energy is more favorable than Alliance Holdings GP, L.P..


Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. pays an annual dividend of $2.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 8.2%. Cloud Peak Energy does not pay a dividend. Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. pays out 63.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

82.0% of Cloud Peak Energy shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 24.5% of Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. shares are owned by institutional investors. 2.5% of Cloud Peak Energy shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


This table compares Cloud Peak Energy and Alliance Holdings GP, L.P.’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Cloud Peak Energy -3.16% -2.81% -1.71%
Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. 10.69% 19.15% 9.62%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Cloud Peak Energy and Alliance Holdings GP, L.P.’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Cloud Peak Energy $841.33 million 0.28 $118.87 million ($0.03) -104.30
Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. $1.94 billion 0.83 $710.69 million $3.46 7.80

Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. has higher revenue and earnings than Cloud Peak Energy. Cloud Peak Energy is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Alliance Holdings GP, L.P., indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

Cloud Peak Energy has a beta of 1.42, suggesting that its share price is 42% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. has a beta of 0.53, suggesting that its share price is 47% less volatile than the S&P 500.


Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. beats Cloud Peak Energy on 8 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Cloud Peak Energy

Cloud Peak Energy Inc. is a producer of coal in the United States of America and the Powder River Basin (PRB). In the PRB, the Company owns and operates three surface coal mines: the Antelope Mine, the Cordero Rojo Mine and the Spring Creek Mine. Its segments include Owned and Operated Mines, and Logistics and Related Activities. Its Owned and Operated Mines segment includes its Antelope Mine, Cordero Rojo Mine, and Spring Creek Mine. The Logistics and Related Activities segment includes the services it provides to its international and certain of its domestic customers where it delivers coal to the customer at a terminal or the customer’s plant or other delivery point, remote from its mine site. As of December 31, 2016, the Company also operated two development projects, both located in the Northern PRB: Youngs Creek Project and Big Metal Project. The Company’s Antelope Mine and Cordero Rojo Mine are located in Wyoming and its Spring Creek Mine is located in Montana.

About Alliance Holdings GP, L.P.

Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. (AHGP) is a limited partnership company. The Company owns directly and indirectly the members’ interest in Alliance Resource Management GP, LLC (MGP), the managing general partner of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP). The Company’s segments include Illinois Basin, Appalachia, and Other and Corporate. The Illinois Basin segment consists of mining complexes, including Webster County Coal’s Dotiki mining complex; Gibson County Coal’s mining complex, which includes the Gibson North mine and Gibson South mine; Warrior’s mining complex; River View’s mining complex and the Hamilton mining complex. The Appalachia segment consists of various operating segments, including the Mettiki mining complex, the Tunnel Ridge mining complex and the MC Mining mining complex. The Mettiki mining complex includes Mettiki Coal (WV)’s Mountain View mine and Mettiki Coal’s preparation plant. Other and Corporate segment includes marketing and administrative activities.

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