Universal (NYSE:UVV) and SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL) are both small-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, dividends, earnings, valuation and institutional ownership.

Volatility & Risk

Universal has a beta of 0.79, indicating that its share price is 21% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SunOpta has a beta of 1.17, indicating that its share price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

86.3% of Universal shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 79.5% of SunOpta shares are held by institutional investors. 2.5% of Universal shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.8% of SunOpta shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Universal pays an annual dividend of $3.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.5%. SunOpta does not pay a dividend. Universal has increased its dividend for 46 consecutive years.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Universal and SunOpta’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Universal $2.03 billion 0.82 $105.66 million N/A N/A
SunOpta $1.28 billion 0.34 -$135.32 million ($0.14) -35.14

Universal has higher revenue and earnings than SunOpta.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Universal and SunOpta, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Universal 0 0 0 0 N/A
SunOpta 0 0 1 0 3.00

SunOpta has a consensus target price of $10.00, indicating a potential upside of 103.25%. Given SunOpta’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe SunOpta is more favorable than Universal.

Profitability

This table compares Universal and SunOpta’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Universal 5.53% 7.95% 4.99%
SunOpta -10.52% -7.59% -1.80%

Summary

Universal beats SunOpta on 11 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Universal

Universal Corporation engages in the supply of leaf tobacco products worldwide. The company operates through North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Dark Air-Cured, Oriental, and Special Services segments. It is involved in procuring, financing, processing, packing, storing, and shipping leaf tobacco for sale to manufacturers of consumer tobacco products. The company contracts, purchases, processes, and sells flue-cured, burley, and oriental tobaccos that are primarily used in the manufacture of cigarettes; and dark air-cured tobaccos principally used in the manufacture of cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products. It also provides value-added services, including blending, chemical, and physical testing of tobacco; service cutting for various manufacturers; manufacturing reconstituted leaf tobacco; just-in-time inventory management services; electronic nicotine delivery systems; e-liquid testing services; and smoke testing services for customers. In addition, the company offers testing services for crop protection agents and tobacco constituents in seed, leaf, and finished products, including e-cigarette liquids and vapors; and analytical services that include chemical compound testing in finished tobacco products and mainstream smoke, as well as engages in the research and development growth trials with various partners for non-tobacco agriproducts production, such as vanilla and stevia. Further, it produces and sells dehydrated and juiced fruit and vegetable products, as well as provides water pipe style leaf tobacco; and recycles waste materials from tobacco production. The company was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

About SunOpta

SunOpta Inc. sources non-genetically modified (non-GMO) and organic ingredients; and manufactures food and beverage products in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and Ethiopia. The company operates through Global Ingredients and Consumer Products segments. The Global Ingredients segment offers organic fruit- and vegetable-based raw materials and ingredients, sweeteners, cocoa, coffees, ancient grains, nuts, seeds and pulses, and other organic food products; identity preserved, non-GMO, and organic seeds and grains, including soy, corn, and sunflower; and seed and grain-based animal feed, and pet food products. It also provides processing and contract manufacturing services comprising seed and grain conditioning services for soy, corn, and sunflower; grain milling for corn with various granulations and batch sizing; coffee and sesame seed processing; and dry and oil roasting and packaging. In addition, this segment offers liquid and dried format seed, grain, and cocoa based ingredients; and specialty organic functional ingredients. The Consumer Products segment provides aseptic beverages, such as almond, soy, coconut, rice, and other non-dairy beverages, as well as broths, teas, and nutritional beverages; and organic and conventional beverage products comprising shelf stable and refrigerated juices, specialty beverages, and functional waters. It also offers natural and organic frozen fruits and vegetables; specialty fruit toppings and bases; and natural and organic fruit-based snacks. The company was formerly known as Stake Technology Ltd. and changed its name to SunOpta Inc. in October 2003. SunOpta Inc. was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Mississauga, Canada.

Receive News & Ratings for Universal Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Universal and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.