Perceptron (NASDAQ: PRCP) and ESCO Technologies (NYSE:ESE) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, dividends, earnings and valuation.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

63.1% of Perceptron shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 94.1% of ESCO Technologies shares are owned by institutional investors. 12.0% of Perceptron shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.3% of ESCO Technologies shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Perceptron has a beta of 0.5, indicating that its share price is 50% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, ESCO Technologies has a beta of 1.03, indicating that its share price is 3% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Perceptron and ESCO Technologies, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Perceptron 0 0 1 0 3.00
ESCO Technologies 0 0 3 0 3.00

Perceptron presently has a consensus price target of $9.00, suggesting a potential upside of 13.21%. ESCO Technologies has a consensus price target of $66.50, suggesting a potential upside of 8.84%. Given Perceptron’s higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Perceptron is more favorable than ESCO Technologies.

Profitability

This table compares Perceptron and ESCO Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Perceptron -0.22% 1.00% 0.58%
ESCO Technologies 8.06% 8.36% 4.84%

Dividends

ESCO Technologies pays an annual dividend of $0.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Perceptron does not pay a dividend. ESCO Technologies pays out 16.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Perceptron and ESCO Technologies’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Perceptron $77.95 million 0.96 $5.79 million ($0.01) -795.00
ESCO Technologies $638.24 million 2.47 $108.39 million $1.98 30.86

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

Summary

ESCO Technologies beats Perceptron on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Perceptron Company Profile

Perceptron, Inc. develops, produces and sells a range of automated industrial metrology products and solutions to manufacturing organizations for dimensional gauging, dimensional inspection and three-dimensional (3D) scanning. The Company’s products include 3D machine vision solutions, robot guidance, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), laser scanning and advanced analysis software. The Company’s products are categorized as In-Line, Near-Line and Off-Line Measurement Solutions (Measurement Solutions); 3D Scanning Solutions, and Value Added Services. Its In-Line and Near-Line measurement solutions include AutoGauge, AutoFit, AutoScan, AutoGuide and Helix. Its Off-Line measurement solutions include Coord3 and TouchDMIS. Its 3D Scanning Solutions include ScanWorks, ScanR and WheelWorks. Its Value Added Services include training, field service, calibration, launch support services, maintenance agreements and repairs. The Company operates in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

ESCO Technologies Company Profile

ESCO Technologies Inc. (ESCO) is a producer of engineered products and systems sold to customers for utility, industrial, aerospace and commercial applications. The Company operates through four segments: Filtration/Fluid Flow (Filtration), RF Shielding and Test (Test), Utility Solutions Group (USG) and Technical Packaging. The filtration segment’s activities are managed by its subsidiaries, Crissair, Inc. (Crissair), PTI Technologies Inc. (PTI), VACCO Industries (VACCO) and Westland Technologies Inc. (Westland). The Test segment activities are managed by its subsidiaries, Beijing Lindgren ElectronMagnetic Technology Co., Ltd., ETS-Lindgren Inc. and ETS-Lindgren OY. The USG segment activities are managed by its subsidiaries, including Doble Engineering Company, Doble PowerTest Ltd and Doble TransiNor AS. The technical packaging activities are managed by its subsidiaries, Thermoform Engineered Quality LLC (TEQ), Plastique Limited and Plastique Sp. z o.o.

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