South Jersey Industries (NYSE: SJI) and Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE:CPK) are both utilities companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, valuation, risk, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

South Jersey Industries pays an annual dividend of $1.09 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.0%. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.30 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. South Jersey Industries pays out 101.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation pays out 50.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares South Jersey Industries and Chesapeake Utilities Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
South Jersey Industries $1.22 billion 2.33 $261.72 million $1.07 33.53
Chesapeake Utilities Corporation $560.47 million 2.32 $122.80 million $2.56 31.04

South Jersey Industries has higher revenue and earnings than Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than South Jersey Industries, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

South Jersey Industries has a beta of 0.77, meaning that its stock price is 23% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation has a beta of 0.27, meaning that its stock price is 73% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for South Jersey Industries and Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
South Jersey Industries 0 3 3 0 2.50
Chesapeake Utilities Corporation 0 4 0 0 2.00

South Jersey Industries currently has a consensus target price of $38.33, suggesting a potential upside of 6.84%. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation has a consensus target price of $69.00, suggesting a potential downside of 13.15%. Given South Jersey Industries’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe South Jersey Industries is more favorable than Chesapeake Utilities Corporation.

Profitability

This table compares South Jersey Industries and Chesapeake Utilities Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
South Jersey Industries 7.02% 7.71% 2.68%
Chesapeake Utilities Corporation 7.40% 9.18% 3.41%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

69.5% of South Jersey Industries shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 61.3% of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.6% of South Jersey Industries shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.4% of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

South Jersey Industries beats Chesapeake Utilities Corporation on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About South Jersey Industries

South Jersey Industries, Inc. (SJI) is an energy services holding company. The Company provides a range of energy-related products and services, primarily through its subsidiaries. Its subsidiaries include South Jersey Gas Company (SJG), South Jersey Energy Company (SJE), South Jersey Resources Group, LLC (SJRG), South Jersey Exploration, LLC (SJEX), Marina Energy, LLC (Marina), South Jersey Energy Service Plus, LLC (SJESP) and SJI Midstream, LLC (Midstream). Its segments include Gas utility operations (SJG), which consist primarily of natural gas distribution; Wholesale energy operations, which include the activities of SJRG and SJEX; SJE, which is involved in both retail gas and retail electric activities; On-Site energy production, which consists of Marina’s thermal energy facility; Appliance service operations, which include SJESP, and Corporate and Services segment, which includes the activities of Midstream.

About Chesapeake Utilities Corporation

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake) is an energy company. The Company operates through two segments: Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Company provides natural gas distribution and transmission; natural gas supply, gathering, processing and marketing; electric distribution and generation; propane distribution; propane and crude oil wholesale marketing; steam generation, and other energy-related services. The Regulated Energy segment includes the Company’s natural gas distribution, natural gas transmission and electric distribution operations. The Unregulated Energy segment includes its propane distribution, propane and crude oil wholesale marketing, natural gas marketing and unregulated natural gas supply, gathering and processing, electricity and steam generation and other unregulated energy-related services to customers.

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