Compass Minerals International (NYSE: CMP) and American Vanguard Corporation (NYSE:AVD) are both basic materials companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, earnings, dividends and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares Compass Minerals International and American Vanguard Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Compass Minerals International 9.83% 10.01% 3.06%
American Vanguard Corporation 4.56% 5.10% 3.34%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Compass Minerals International and American Vanguard Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Compass Minerals International 0 3 0 0 2.00
American Vanguard Corporation 0 1 1 1 3.00

Compass Minerals International presently has a consensus target price of $67.00, indicating a potential upside of 0.98%. American Vanguard Corporation has a consensus target price of $19.50, indicating a potential downside of 1.27%. Given Compass Minerals International’s higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Compass Minerals International is more favorable than American Vanguard Corporation.

Risk & Volatility

Compass Minerals International has a beta of 0.45, suggesting that its share price is 55% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, American Vanguard Corporation has a beta of 1.38, suggesting that its share price is 38% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

76.9% of American Vanguard Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.8% of Compass Minerals International shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 4.7% of American Vanguard Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Compass Minerals International pays an annual dividend of $2.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.3%. American Vanguard Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.3%. Compass Minerals International pays out 80.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. American Vanguard Corporation pays out 12.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Compass Minerals International has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years. Compass Minerals International is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Compass Minerals International and American Vanguard Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Compass Minerals International $1.24 billion 1.81 $248.20 million $3.58 18.53
American Vanguard Corporation $318.49 million 1.85 $44.28 million $0.50 39.50

Compass Minerals International has higher revenue and earnings than American Vanguard Corporation. Compass Minerals International is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than American Vanguard Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

American Vanguard Corporation beats Compass Minerals International on 10 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

Compass Minerals International Company Profile

Compass Minerals International, Inc. (CMI) is a provider of essential minerals that solve nature’s challenges, including salt for winter roadway safety and other consumer, industrial and agricultural uses; specialty plant nutrition minerals for the quality and yield of crops, and specialty chemicals for water treatment and other industrial processes. The Company has three segments: Salt, Plant Nutrition North America and Plant Nutrition South America. The Salt segment produces and markets salt and magnesium chloride for use in road deicing and dust control, food processing, water softeners, and agricultural and industrial applications. Its Plant Nutrition North America segment includes sales of sulfate of potash (SOP) specialty fertilizer and micronutrients. The Plant Nutrition South America segment operates two primary businesses in Brazil: agricultural productivity and chemical solutions.

American Vanguard Corporation Company Profile

American Vanguard Corporation operates as a holding company. The Company conducts its business through its subsidiaries, AMVAC Chemical Corporation (AMVAC), GemChem, Inc. (GemChem), 2110 Davie Corporation (DAVIE), Quimica Amvac de Mexico S.A. de C.V. (AMVAC M), AMVAC Mexico Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (AMVAC M Srl), AMVAC de Costa Rica Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (AMVAC CR Srl), AMVAC Switzerland GmbH (AMVAC S), AMVAC do Brasil Representacoes Ltda (AMVAC B), AMVAC C.V. (AMVAC CV), AMVAC Netherlands BV (AMVAC BV), Envance Technologies, LLC (Envance), AMVAC Singapore Pte, Ltd (AMVAC Sgpr) and Huifeng AMVAC Innovation Co. Limited (Hong Kong JV). AMVAC is a specialty chemical manufacturer that develops and markets products for agricultural, commercial and consumer uses. It manufactures and formulates chemicals, such as insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, molluscicides and soil fumigants for crops, turf and ornamental plants, and human and animal health protection.

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