Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) and Southern (NYSE:SO) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, risk, analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership, dividends and profitability.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Ormat Technologies and Southern, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ormat Technologies 0 3 3 0 2.50
Southern 5 10 0 0 1.67

Ormat Technologies presently has a consensus price target of $66.50, suggesting a potential upside of 16.89%. Southern has a consensus price target of $46.23, suggesting a potential downside of 6.07%. Given Ormat Technologies’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Ormat Technologies is more favorable than Southern.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Ormat Technologies and Southern’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ormat Technologies $692.81 million 4.16 $132.41 million $2.99 19.03
Southern $23.03 billion 2.20 $880.00 million $3.02 16.30

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

74.8% of Ormat Technologies shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 56.8% of Southern shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of Ormat Technologies shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Southern shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Ormat Technologies pays an annual dividend of $0.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. Southern pays an annual dividend of $2.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.9%. Ormat Technologies pays out 13.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Southern pays out 79.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Southern has raised its dividend for 17 consecutive years. Southern is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Risk and Volatility

Ormat Technologies has a beta of 1.34, suggesting that its stock price is 34% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Southern has a beta of 0.19, suggesting that its stock price is 81% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Ormat Technologies and Southern’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ormat Technologies 17.39% 8.86% 4.30%
Southern 10.35% 12.88% 3.02%

Summary

Ormat Technologies beats Southern on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Ormat Technologies Company Profile

Ormat Technologies, Inc. engages in the geothermal and recovered energy power business worldwide. The company operates through Electricity and Product segments. The Electricity segment develops, builds, owns, and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants; and sells electricity. This segment also offers energy storage, demand response, and energy management related services. The Product segment designs, manufactures, and sells equipment for geothermal and recovered energy-based electricity generation, such as fossil fuel powered turbo-generators and heavy duty direct-current generators. This segment also provides services relating to the engineering, procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance of geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants. The Product segment serves contractors; developers, owners, and operators of geothermal power plants; and owners and operators of interstate natural gas pipelines, gas processing plants, and cement plants, as well as companies in other energy-intensive industrial processes. Ormat Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1965 and is based in Reno, Nevada.

Southern Company Profile

The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The company also constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy facilities and sells electricity in the wholesale market; and distributes natural gas in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas midstream operations. It owns and/or operates 33 hydroelectric generating stations, 29 fossil fuel generating stations, 3 nuclear generating stations, 15 combined cycle/cogeneration stations, 35 solar facilities, 8 wind facilities, 1 biomass facility, and 1 landfill gas facility; and constructs, operates, and maintains 82,000 miles of natural gas pipelines and 14 storage facilities with total capacity of 158 Bcf to provide natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company has 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption and throughput volume serving 9 million electric and gas utility customers. It also provides products and services in the areas of distributed generation infrastructure, energy efficiency, and utility infrastructure. In addition, the company offers digital wireless communications services with various communication options, including push to talk, cellular service, text messaging, wireless Internet access, and wireless data. The Southern Company was founded in 1945 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

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