IDACORP (NYSE: PAM) and Pampa Energia (NYSE:PAM) are both mid-cap utilities companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitability, earnings, risk, valuation, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares IDACORP and Pampa Energia’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
IDACORP $1.35 billion 3.74 $212.41 million $4.21 23.76
Pampa Energia $3.05 billion 0.74 $342.46 million $3.55 8.65

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

Profitability

This table compares IDACORP and Pampa Energia’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
IDACORP 16.71% 10.05% 3.66%
Pampa Energia 5.30% 8.21% 1.43%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for IDACORP and Pampa Energia, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
IDACORP 2 1 0 0 1.33
Pampa Energia 1 0 4 0 2.60

IDACORP currently has a consensus target price of $82.50, indicating a potential downside of 17.54%. Pampa Energia has a consensus target price of $58.00, indicating a potential upside of 88.99%. Given Pampa Energia’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Pampa Energia is more favorable than IDACORP.

Volatility and Risk

IDACORP has a beta of 0.27, meaning that its stock price is 73% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Pampa Energia has a beta of 1.24, meaning that its stock price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

77.7% of IDACORP shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 36.1% of Pampa Energia shares are held by institutional investors. 0.7% of IDACORP shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

IDACORP pays an annual dividend of $2.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Pampa Energia does not pay a dividend. IDACORP pays out 56.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. IDACORP has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years.

Summary

IDACORP beats Pampa Energia on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About IDACORP

IDACORP, Inc., through its subsidiary, Idaho Power Company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, purchase, and sale of electric energy in the United States. It operates 17 hydroelectric generating plants located in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, as well as 3 natural gas-fired plants in southern Idaho; and owns interests in 3 coal-fired steam electric generating plants located in Wyoming, Nevada, and Oregon. As of December 31, 2017, the company provided electric service to approximately 545,000 general business customers; and had a network of approximately 4,857 pole-miles of high-voltage transmission lines, 24 step-up transmission substations located at power plants, 24 transmission substations, 10 switching stations, and 223 energized distribution substations, as well as approximately 27,441 pole-miles of distribution lines. Its principal commercial and industrial customers are involved in food processing, electronics and general manufacturing, agriculture, health care, and winter recreation activities. The company, through its other subsidiaries, invests in housing and other real estate investments. IDACORP, Inc. was founded in 1915 and is headquartered in Boise, Idaho.

About Pampa Energia

Pampa Energía S.A., an integrated electricity company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Argentina. The company generates electricity through combined cycle gas-fired generating units, thermal generation plants, open-cycle gas turbines, and hydroelectric power generation systems, as well as through a wind farm. As of December 31, 2017, it had an electricity generation installed capacity of approximately 3,756 megawatts; 3 million electricity distribution customers in the northern region of the City of Buenos Aires and northwest of the greater Buenos Aires area; and 20,718 kilometers of high voltage transmission lines. The company is also involved in the exploration and production, and refining and distribution of oil and gas in Argentina, Venezuela, and Ecuador. In addition, it offers petrochemicals, such as intermediate gasoline products, aromatic solvents, hexane and other hydrogenated paraffinic solvents, and propellants for the cosmetic industry; and monomer styrene, and rubber and polymer products from natural gas, virgin naphtha, propane, and other supplies. As of December 31, 2017, the company had combined crude oil and natural gas proved reserves of approximately 167.1 million barrels of oil equivalent; one fully owned refinery with an installed capacity of approximately 30.2 thousand barrels per day; two storage plants with a capacity of approximately 1.2 million barrels; one lubricant plant; and three fully-owned petrochemical plants. It also operated a network of 250 gas stations. The company was formerly known as Pampa Holding S.A. and changed its name to Pampa Energía S.A. in September 2008. Pampa Energía S.A. was founded in 1945 and is headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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