ICF International (NASDAQ: ICFI) and General Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:GFN) are both small-cap business services companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, dividends, valuation, profitability, risk, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for ICF International and General Finance Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
ICF International 0 2 3 0 2.60
General Finance Corporation 0 1 2 0 2.67

ICF International currently has a consensus price target of $60.67, suggesting a potential upside of 12.45%. General Finance Corporation has a consensus price target of $7.60, suggesting a potential upside of 50.50%. Given General Finance Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe General Finance Corporation is more favorable than ICF International.

Volatility & Risk

ICF International has a beta of 0.89, meaning that its share price is 11% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, General Finance Corporation has a beta of 1.21, meaning that its share price is 21% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares ICF International and General Finance Corporation’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
ICF International $1.20 billion 0.84 $115.22 million $2.50 21.58
General Finance Corporation $276.93 million 0.49 $59.20 million ($0.25) -20.20

ICF International has higher revenue and earnings than General Finance Corporation. General Finance Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than ICF International, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares ICF International and General Finance Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
ICF International 4.02% 10.25% 5.29%
General Finance Corporation -0.90% -1.37% -0.37%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

90.3% of ICF International shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 19.1% of General Finance Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 5.5% of ICF International shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 25.8% of General Finance Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

ICF International beats General Finance Corporation on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

ICF International Company Profile

ICF International, Inc. provides professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients, including management, technology, and policy consulting and implementation services. The Company’s services address four markets: energy, environment and infrastructure; health, education and social programs; safety and security, and consumer and financial. Its services include research and analytic services, assessment and advisory services, design and management services, solution identification and implementation services, and engagement services. The Company researches policy, industry and stakeholder issues, trends and behavior. The Company collects and analyzes various data to understand issues and options for its clients. The Company measures and evaluates results and their impact and, based on those assessments, the Company provides advice to its clients on how to navigate societal, market, business, communication and technology challenges.

General Finance Corporation Company Profile

General Finance Corporation is a specialty rental services company. The Company offers a range of portable storage units, including its core 20-feet and 40-feet steel containers, office container, mobile office and modular space products and steel tanks. It has two geographic areas that include its four operating segments: the Asia-Pacific area, consisting of the leasing operations of Royal Wolf Holdings Limited and its Australian and New Zealand subsidiaries (Royal Wolf), and North America, consisting of the combined leasing operations of Pac-Van, Inc. and its Canadian subsidiary, PV Acquisition Corp. (Pac-Van) and Lone Star Tank Rental Inc. (Lone Star), and the manufacturing operations of GFN Manufacturing Corporation and its subsidiary, Southern Frac, LLC (Southern Frac). As of June 30, 2016, the Company provided its storage solutions to over 41,000 customers across a range of industries, including commercial, construction, retail, transportation, education and others.

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