Protective Life (NYSE: PL) and Athene (NYSE:ATH) are both mid-cap life & health insurance – nec companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Protective Life and Athene, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Protective Life 0 0 0 0 N/A
Athene 0 5 12 0 2.71

Athene has a consensus price target of $59.31, indicating a potential upside of 24.47%. Given Athene’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Athene is more favorable than Protective Life.

Profitability

This table compares Protective Life and Athene’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Protective Life 10.35% 10.03% 0.67%
Athene 22.66% 13.31% 1.15%

Insider and Institutional Ownership

48.4% of Athene shares are held by institutional investors. 10.6% of Athene shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Protective Life and Athene’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Protective Life N/A N/A N/A $5.29 13.22
Athene $4.11 billion 2.32 $805.00 million $7.15 6.66

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

Summary

Athene beats Protective Life on 9 of the 9 factors compared between the two stocks.

Protective Life Company Profile

Protective Life Corporation is a holding company. The Company along with subsidiaries provides financial services in the United States through the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products. The Company operates several operating segments, each distinguished by products, channels of distribution, and/or other strategic distinctions. The Company’s operating segments are Life Marketing, Acquisitions, Annuities, Stable Value Products, and Asset Protection. The Company has an additional segment referred to as Corporate and Other which consists of net investment income not assigned and expenses not attributable to the segments. This segment also includes earnings from several non-strategic or runoff lines of business, various investment-related transactions, the operations of small subsidiaries, and the repurchase of non-recourse funding obligations.

Athene Company Profile

Athene Holding Ltd. is an insurance holding company. The Company’s segments include Retirement Services, Corporate and Other. Retirement Services segment consists of the United States and Bermuda operations, which issue and reinsure retirement savings products and institutional products. Retirement Services has retail operations, which provide annuity retirement solutions to its policyholders. Retirement Services has reinsurance operations, which reinsure multi-year guaranteed annuities, fixed indexed annuities, traditional one year guarantee fixed deferred annuities, immediate annuities and institutional products from its reinsurance partners. It offers two product lines: annuities and funding agreements. It offers deferred and immediate annuities, which are focused on the needs and objectives of people preparing for, approaching or living in retirement. It focuses on issuing funding agreements to institutional investors. Its life and other products include other retail products.

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