Head-To-Head Survey: Essential Utilities (WTRG) and The Competition

Essential Utilities (NYSE: WTRG) is one of 15 public companies in the “Water supply” industry, but how does it contrast to its rivals? We will compare Essential Utilities to related companies based on the strength of its earnings, institutional ownership, risk, profitability, analyst recommendations, dividends and valuation.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Essential Utilities and its rivals top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Net Income Price/Earnings Ratio
Essential Utilities $889.69 million $224.54 million 29.75
Essential Utilities Competitors $794.36 million $139.64 million 33.63

Essential Utilities has higher revenue and earnings than its rivals. Essential Utilities is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than its rivals, indicating that it is currently more affordable than other companies in its industry.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

65.7% of Essential Utilities shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 52.5% of shares of all “Water supply” companies are owned by institutional investors. 0.2% of Essential Utilities shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 7.4% of shares of all “Water supply” companies are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Essential Utilities and its rivals, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Essential Utilities 0 1 0 0 2.00
Essential Utilities Competitors 194 543 499 55 2.32

Essential Utilities currently has a consensus price target of $50.00, indicating a potential upside of 14.34%. As a group, “Water supply” companies have a potential upside of 3.11%. Given Essential Utilities’ higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Essential Utilities is more favorable than its rivals.

Profitability

This table compares Essential Utilities and its rivals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Essential Utilities 25.15% 8.83% 3.36%
Essential Utilities Competitors 15.51% 8.68% 3.30%

Risk and Volatility

Essential Utilities has a beta of 0.47, meaning that its stock price is 53% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Essential Utilities’ rivals have a beta of 0.28, meaning that their average stock price is 72% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Essential Utilities pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. Essential Utilities pays out 68.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. As a group, “Water supply” companies pay a dividend yield of 1.8% and pay out 64.8% of their earnings in the form of a dividend. Essential Utilities has raised its dividend for 1 consecutive years.

Summary

Essential Utilities beats its rivals on 10 of the 15 factors compared.

About Essential Utilities

Essential Utilities, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates regulated utilities that provide water or wastewater services in the United States. It offers water services through operating and maintenance contracts with municipal authorities and other parties. The company also provides non-utility raw water supply services for firms in the natural gas drilling industry; and water and sewer line protection solutions, and repair services to households through a third-party. It serves approximately 3 million residential water, commercial water, fire protection, industrial water, wastewater, and other water and utility customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana, and Virginia. The company was formerly known as Aqua America, Inc. and changed its name to Essential Utilities, Inc. in February 2020. Essential Utilities, Inc. was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

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