Green Plains (NASDAQ:GPRE) and Tantech (NASDAQ:TANH) are both small-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, earnings, institutional ownership and dividends.

Volatility and Risk

Green Plains has a beta of 1.11, indicating that its stock price is 11% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Tantech has a beta of -1.51, indicating that its stock price is 251% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Green Plains and Tantech’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Green Plains $3.60 billion 0.16 $61.06 million ($0.86) -15.67
Tantech $43.08 million 1.21 $3.76 million N/A N/A

Green Plains has higher revenue and earnings than Tantech.

Dividends

Green Plains pays an annual dividend of $0.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Tantech does not pay a dividend. Green Plains pays out -55.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

2.5% of Tantech shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.9% of Green Plains 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.

Profitability

This table compares Green Plains and Tantech’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Green Plains 0.23% -4.22% -1.63%
Tantech N/A N/A N/A

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Green Plains and Tantech, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Green Plains 0 1 2 0 2.67
Tantech 0 0 0 0 N/A

Green Plains currently has a consensus price target of $26.00, indicating a potential upside of 92.88%. Given Green Plains’ higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Green Plains is more favorable than Tantech.

Summary

Green Plains beats Tantech on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Green Plains

Green Plains Inc. produces, markets, and distributes ethanol in the United States and internationally. The company operates through four segments: Ethanol Production; Agribusiness and Energy Services; Food and Ingredients; and Partnership. The Ethanol Production segment produces and sells ethanol, distiller grains, and corn oil. The Agribusiness and Energy Services segment engages in the grain procurement, handling, and storage activities; and commodity marketing business, which purchases, markets, sells, and distributes ethanol, distiller grains, and corn oil, as well as crude oil, grain, natural gas, and other commodities in various markets. This segment also provides grain drying and storage services to grain producers. The Food and Ingredients segment purchases and sells feeder cattle to meat processors; and produces and sells white distilled vinegar and various specialty vinegar, such as balsamic, red wine, white wine, cider, and other varietals primarily to the food industry participants, including branded food companies, private label food manufacturers, and companies serving the foodservice channel, as well as for retail and industrial uses. This segment also produces, trades in, and sells corn and soybean oil. The Partnership segment offers fuel storage and transportation services. As of December 31, 2017, this segment owned 39 ethanol storage facilities; 8 fuel terminal facilities; and approximately a fleet of 3,500 leased railcars. The company was formerly known as Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. and changed its name to Green Plains Inc. in May 2014. Green Plains Inc. was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.

About Tantech

Tantech Holdings Ltd. develops and manufactures bamboo-based charcoal products in the People's Republic of China and internationally. The company operates through three segments: Consumer Products, Trading, and Electric Vehicle. It produces pressed and formed charcoal briquettes for use in grills, incense burners, and other applications under the Algold brand. The company also offers Charcoal Doctor branded products, such as air purifiers and humidifiers, automotive accessories for air purification, underfloor humidity control products, pillows and mattresses, wardrobe deodorizers, mouse pads and wrist mats, refrigerator deodorants, charcoal toilet cleaner disks, liquid charcoal cleaners, shoe insoles, and decorative charcoal gifts. In addition, it provides bamboo vinegar, a liquid byproduct that is used in disinfectants, detergents, lotions, specialized soaps, toilet cleaners, and fertilizers, as well as in various agricultural applications. Further, the company develops, manufactures, and sells electric buses and specialty electric vehicles, such as electric logistics cars, brushless cleaning cars, electric cleaning cars, special emergency vehicles, and funeral cars; and solar cells, lithium-ion batteries, auto parts, and electric control systems. The company sells its products directly or indirectly through distributors for industrial energy applications; and household cooking, heating, purification, agricultural, and cleaning uses. It also exports its bamboo vinegar, bamboo charcoal and purification products. Tantech Holdings Ltd. was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Lishui, the People's Republic of China.

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