Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) and Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR) are both business services companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, risk, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership and dividends.

Profitability

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This table compares Steelcase and Herman Miller’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Steelcase 3.49% 13.62% 6.03%
Herman Miller 5.36% 21.85% 10.02%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Steelcase and Herman Miller’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Steelcase $3.03 billion 0.54 $124.60 million $0.89 15.96
Herman Miller $2.28 billion 0.99 $123.90 million $2.02 18.66

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

Dividends

Steelcase pays an annual dividend of $0.51 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Herman Miller pays an annual dividend of $0.72 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. Steelcase pays out 57.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Herman Miller pays out 35.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Herman Miller has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Risk & Volatility

Steelcase has a beta of 1.28, suggesting that its stock price is 28% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Herman Miller has a beta of 1.41, suggesting that its stock price is 41% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

64.6% of Steelcase shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 82.6% of Herman Miller shares are owned by institutional investors. 18.9% of Steelcase shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.9% of Herman Miller shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Steelcase and Herman Miller, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Steelcase 0 1 1 0 2.50
Herman Miller 0 0 2 0 3.00

Steelcase presently has a consensus price target of $16.00, suggesting a potential upside of 12.68%. Herman Miller has a consensus price target of $40.50, suggesting a potential upside of 7.43%. Given Steelcase’s higher probable upside, equities analysts plainly believe Steelcase is more favorable than Herman Miller.

Summary

Herman Miller beats Steelcase on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Steelcase

Steelcase Inc. manufactures and sells integrated portfolio of furniture settings, user-centered technologies, and interior architectural products. The company operates through Americas, EMEA, and Other Category segments. Its furniture systems portfolio comprises panel-based and freestanding furniture systems, storage, desks, benches, tables, and complementary products, such as worktools. The company's seating products include ergonomic chairs; seating for collaborative or casual settings; and specialty seating for specific vertical markets, such as healthcare and education. Its interior architectural products consist of full and partial height walls and doors. The company also manufactures and sells textiles, wall coverings, and surface imaging solutions for architects and designers; and ceramic steel surfaces primarily for third-party fabricators and distributors for use in static whiteboards and chalkboards. In addition, it provides workplace strategy consulting, lease origination, furniture and asset management, and hosted space services. The company markets and sells its products to corporate, government, healthcare, education, and retail customers under the Steelcase, Coalesse, Designtex, PolyVision, and Turnstone brand names. It distributes its products and services through a network of independent and company-owned dealers, as well as directly to end-use customers. Steelcase Inc. was founded in 1912 and is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

About Herman Miller

Herman Miller, Inc. is engaged in the research, design, manufacture, sale and distribution of office furniture systems, seating products, home furnishings and related services, among others. The Company’s segments include North American Furniture Solutions, which includes the design, manufacture and sale of furniture products for work-related settings, including office, education and healthcare environments, across the United States and Canada; EMEA, Latin America, and Asia Pacific (ELA) Furniture Solutions, which includes the operations associated with the design, manufacture, and sale of furniture products, primarily for work-related settings, in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America and Asia-Pacific geographic regions, among others; Specialty segment, which includes the design, manufacture and sale of furniture products and textiles, and Consumer segment, which includes the sale of modern design furnishings and accessories to third-party retail distributors.

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