McCormick & Company, (NYSE: MKC) and Central Garden & Pet Co (NASDAQ:CENT) are both consumer staples companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, earnings, valuation and dividends.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for McCormick & Company, and Central Garden & Pet Co, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
McCormick & Company, 0 5 4 0 2.44
Central Garden & Pet Co 0 1 3 0 2.75

McCormick & Company, presently has a consensus price target of $102.75, indicating a potential upside of 6.88%. Central Garden & Pet Co has a consensus price target of $38.33, indicating a potential upside of 6.54%. Given McCormick & Company,’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe McCormick & Company, is more favorable than Central Garden & Pet Co.

Dividends

McCormick & Company, pays an annual dividend of $1.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Central Garden & Pet Co does not pay a dividend. McCormick & Company, pays out 49.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. McCormick & Company, has raised its dividend for 30 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares McCormick & Company, and Central Garden & Pet Co’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
McCormick & Company, 10.69% 28.28% 10.36%
Central Garden & Pet Co 5.72% 21.20% 9.59%

Volatility and Risk

McCormick & Company, has a beta of 0.52, indicating that its share price is 48% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Central Garden & Pet Co has a beta of 0.1, indicating that its share price is 90% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

72.9% of McCormick & Company, shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 20.2% of Central Garden & Pet Co shares are held by institutional investors. 15.3% of McCormick & Company, shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 11.6% of Central Garden & Pet Co shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares McCormick & Company, and Central Garden & Pet Co’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
McCormick & Company, $4.48 billion 2.43 $776.80 million $3.77 25.50
Central Garden & Pet Co $1.98 billion 0.94 $202.40 million $1.33 27.05

McCormick & Company, has higher revenue and earnings than Central Garden & Pet Co. McCormick & Company, is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Central Garden & Pet Co, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

McCormick & Company, beats Central Garden & Pet Co on 15 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

McCormick & Company, Company Profile

McCormick & Company, Incorporated is engaged in manufacturing, marketing and distributing spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the food industry, including retailers, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. The Company’s segments include consumer and industrial. The Company is involved in the manufacturing and sales of flavorful products. As of November 30, 2016, it offered brands for consumers in approximately 150 countries and territories. The Company’s brands in the Americas include McCormick, Lawry’s, and Club House, as well as brands, such as Gourmet Garden and OLD BAY. It provides a range of products to food manufacturers and foodservice customers. The Company’s sales, distribution and production facilities are located in North America, Europe and China. It markets regional and ethnic brands, such as Zatarain’s, Stubb’s, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia. The Company offers sensory testing, culinary research, food safety and flavor application.

Central Garden & Pet Co Company Profile

Central Garden & Pet Company is a marketer and producer of branded products and distributor of third party products in the pet and lawn and garden supplies industries in the United States. The Company operates in two segments: Pet segment and the Garden segment. It is a marketer and producer of pet supplies in the United States. In addition, its Pet segment operates sales and logistics networks in the industry strategically supporting its brands. Its principal pet supplies categories are dog and cat, aquatics, bird and small animal, wild bird feed and animal health products. The Company markets and produces various brands, including Pennington, The Rebels, AMDRO, Lilly Miller, Ironite, Sevin, and Over-N-Out. Its Garden segment operates a sales and logistics network that strategically supports its brands. The Company’s principal lawn and garden product lines include grass seed, wild bird feed and insect control products.

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