Esterline Technologies Corporation (NYSE: ESL) and Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ:ATRO) are both aerospace companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

90.9% of Esterline Technologies Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 63.8% of Astronics Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 1.4% of Esterline Technologies Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 16.5% of Astronics Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Esterline Technologies Corporation and Astronics Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Esterline Technologies Corporation 6.65% 9.18% 5.06%
Astronics Corporation 6.73% 12.12% 6.72%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Esterline Technologies Corporation and Astronics Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Esterline Technologies Corporation $2.01 billion 1.22 $312.43 million $4.48 18.30
Astronics Corporation $612.68 million 1.22 $86.53 million $1.38 18.89

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

Volatility and Risk

Esterline Technologies Corporation has a beta of 1.43, suggesting that its stock price is 43% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Astronics Corporation has a beta of 1.13, suggesting that its stock price is 13% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Esterline Technologies Corporation and Astronics Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Esterline Technologies Corporation 1 3 1 0 2.00
Astronics Corporation 0 1 1 0 2.50

Esterline Technologies Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $92.60, suggesting a potential upside of 12.93%. Astronics Corporation has a consensus target price of $34.50, suggesting a potential upside of 32.34%. Given Astronics Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Astronics Corporation is more favorable than Esterline Technologies Corporation.

Summary

Astronics Corporation beats Esterline Technologies Corporation on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Esterline Technologies Corporation

Esterline Technologies Corporation is a specialized manufacturing company. The Company designs, manufactures and markets engineered products and systems for application within the industries it serves. The Company operates through three segments: Avionics & Controls, Sensors & Systems, and Advanced Materials. The Company serves aerospace and defense customers. The Company’s Avionics & Controls business segment includes avionics systems, control and communication systems, and interface technologies capabilities. The Company’s Sensors & Systems business segment includes power systems, connection technologies and advanced sensors capabilities. The Company’s Advanced Materials business segment includes engineered materials and defense technologies capabilities. The Company designs and manufactures ruggedized military personal communication equipment, primarily headsets, handsets and field communications.

About Astronics Corporation

Astronics Corporation is a supplier of products to the aerospace, defense, electronics and semiconductor industries. The Company’s products and services include electrical power generation, distribution and motion systems, lighting and safety systems, avionics products, aircraft structures, systems certification and automated test systems. The Company operates through two segments: Aerospace and Test Systems. The Aerospace segment designs and manufactures products for the global aerospace industry. Its product lines include lighting and safety systems, electrical power generation, distribution and motions systems, aircraft structures, avionics products, systems certification and other products. The Test Systems segment designs, develops, manufactures and maintains automated test systems that support the semiconductor, aerospace, communications and weapons test systems, as well as training and simulation devices for both commercial and military applications.

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