SCANA (NYSE: SCG) and Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) are both mid-cap utilities companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, earnings, valuation and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares SCANA and Westar Energy’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SCANA 10.45% 10.05% 3.05%
Westar Energy 13.32% 8.94% 2.98%

Risk and Volatility

SCANA has a beta of 0.2, indicating that its stock price is 80% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Westar Energy has a beta of 0.42, indicating that its stock price is 58% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

66.6% of SCANA shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 73.7% of Westar Energy shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.4% of SCANA shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Westar Energy shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares SCANA and Westar Energy’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SCANA $4.23 billion 1.47 $595.00 million $3.15 13.77
Westar Energy $2.56 billion 2.82 $346.57 million $2.41 21.09

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for SCANA and Westar Energy, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SCANA 2 7 2 0 2.00
Westar Energy 0 0 5 0 3.00

SCANA presently has a consensus target price of $56.69, suggesting a potential upside of 30.74%. Westar Energy has a consensus target price of $55.75, suggesting a potential upside of 9.70%. Given SCANA’s higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe SCANA is more favorable than Westar Energy.

Dividends

SCANA pays an annual dividend of $2.45 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.7%. Westar Energy pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. SCANA pays out 77.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Westar Energy pays out 66.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. SCANA has increased its dividend for 18 consecutive years and Westar Energy has increased its dividend for 12 consecutive years. SCANA is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

Westar Energy beats SCANA on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

SCANA Company Profile

SCANA Corporation is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity in South Carolina. The Company operates through segments, including Electric Operations, Gas Distribution, Gas Marketing and All Other. The Company is engaged in the purchase, transmission and sale of natural gas in North Carolina and South Carolina. The Electric Operations segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity. The Company’s regulated businesses include subsidiaries, such as South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), South Carolina Fuel Company, Inc. (Fuel Company), South Carolina Generating Company, Inc. (GENCO) and Public Service Company of North Carolina, Incorporated (PSNC Energy). The Company’s nonregulated businesses include subsidiaries, such as SCANA Energy Marketing, Inc. (SCANA Energy), ServiceCare, Inc., SCANA Services, Inc. and SCANA Corporate Security Services, Inc.

Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc. is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita. Both the Company and KGE conduct business using the name Westar Energy. The Company supplies electric energy at retail to customers in Kansas. The Company also supplies electric energy at wholesale to municipalities and electric cooperatives in Kansas, and has contracts for the sale or purchase of wholesale electricity with other utilities. As of December 31, 2016, it had 6,292 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity in service.

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