Westlake Chemical (NYSE: WLK) and Verenium (NASDAQ:VRNM) are both basic materials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations, valuation and dividends.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Westlake Chemical and Verenium’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Westlake Chemical $5.08 billion 2.90 $398.85 million $4.61 24.72
Verenium N/A N/A N/A ($1.56) -2.56

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

Dividends

Westlake Chemical pays an annual dividend of $0.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. Verenium does not pay a dividend. Westlake Chemical pays out 18.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Verenium has increased its dividend for 14 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Westlake Chemical and Verenium’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Westlake Chemical 7.74% 15.59% 5.95%
Verenium N/A N/A N/A

Insider & Institutional Ownership

30.4% of Westlake Chemical shares are held by institutional investors. 71.7% of Westlake Chemical shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk and Volatility

Westlake Chemical has a beta of 1.72, indicating that its stock price is 72% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Verenium has a beta of 0.83, indicating that its stock price is 17% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Westlake Chemical and Verenium, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Westlake Chemical 0 5 9 0 2.64
Verenium 0 0 0 0 N/A

Westlake Chemical currently has a consensus price target of $107.25, indicating a potential downside of 5.87%. Given Westlake Chemical’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Westlake Chemical is more favorable than Verenium.

Summary

Westlake Chemical beats Verenium on 12 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Westlake Chemical

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a global manufacturer and marketer of basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers and building products. The Company’s products include a range of chemicals, which are fundamental to various consumer and industrial markets, including flexible and rigid packaging, automotive products, coatings, water treatment, refrigerants, residential and commercial construction, as well as other durable and non-durable goods. Its segments include Olefins and Vinyls. It manufactures ethylene (through Westlake Chemical OpCo LP (OpCo)), polyethylene, styrene and associated co-products at its manufacturing facility in Lake Charles and polyethylene at its Longview facility. The Company’s products in its Vinyls segment include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), ethylene dichloride (EDC), chlor-alkali (chlorine and caustic soda) and chlorinated derivative products and, through OpCo, ethylene. It also manufactures and sells building products fabricated from PVC.

About Verenium

Verenium Corporation (Verenium) is an industrial biotechnology company. The Company develops and commercializes enzymes for use in a range of industrial processes. It manufactures and markets its enzyme products in the fields of animal health and nutrition, grain processing, oilfield services and other industrial processes, such as pulp and paper and textiles. As of December 31, 2012, it marketed commercial enzyme products, either independently or in collaboration with its partners. In addition, it has developed a pipeline of enzyme product candidates. Its products are organized into four product lines: animal health and nutrition, grain processing, oilfield services and other industrial processes. As of December 31, 2012, it markets nine commercial enzyme products. In October 2013, BASF SE acquired 71% stake in the Company.

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