Southern Company (The) (NYSE: SO) is one of 85 public companies in the “Electric Utilities” industry, but how does it weigh in compared to its competitors? We will compare Southern Company (The) to similar businesses based on the strength of its risk, dividends, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings, valuation and institutional ownership.

Dividends

Southern Company (The) pays an annual dividend of $2.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.7%. Southern Company (The) pays out 346.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. As a group, “Electric Utilities” companies pay a dividend yield of 3.2% and pay out 103.5% of their earnings in the form of a dividend. Southern Company (The) has increased its dividend for 15 consecutive years.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Southern Company (The) and its competitors top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue EBITDA Price/Earnings Ratio
Southern Company (The) $22.65 billion $5.63 billion 73.67
Southern Company (The) Competitors $7.19 billion $2.12 billion 30.64

Southern Company (The) has higher revenue and earnings than its competitors. Southern Company (The) is trading at a higher price-to-earnings ratio than its competitors, indicating that it is currently more expensive than other companies in its industry.

Risk and Volatility

Southern Company (The) has a beta of 0.13, meaning that its stock price is 87% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Southern Company (The)’s competitors have a beta of 0.70, meaning that their average stock price is 30% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and target prices for Southern Company (The) and its competitors, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Southern Company (The) 2 4 8 0 2.43
Southern Company (The) Competitors 500 2848 2300 39 2.33

Southern Company (The) presently has a consensus price target of $48.90, suggesting a potential downside of 0.94%. As a group, “Electric Utilities” companies have a potential upside of 6.98%. Given Southern Company (The)’s competitors higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Southern Company (The) has less favorable growth aspects than its competitors.

Profitability

This table compares Southern Company (The) and its competitors’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Southern Company (The) 2.93% 11.30% 2.64%
Southern Company (The) Competitors -10.82% 3.51% 0.54%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

53.3% of Southern Company (The) shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 65.5% of shares of all “Electric Utilities” companies are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of Southern Company (The) shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.9% of shares of all “Electric Utilities” companies are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Southern Company (The) beats its competitors on 8 of the 15 factors compared.

Southern Company (The) Company Profile

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional electric operating companies and the parent entities of Southern Power Company (Southern Power) and Southern Company Gas, and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Gas distribution operations, Gas marketing services, Wholesale gas services, Gas midstream operations and All other. The Gas distribution operations segment includes natural gas local distribution utilities that construct, manage, and maintain intrastate natural gas pipelines and gas distribution facilities in seven states. The Gas marketing services segment provides natural gas commodity and related services to customers markets that provide for customer choice. The Wholesale gas services segment engages in natural gas storage and gas pipeline arbitrage. The Gas midstream operations consist primarily of gas pipeline investments, with storage and fuels.

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