Comparing Aqua America (WTR) and The Competition

Aqua America (NYSE: WTR) is one of 15 publicly-traded companies in the “Water supply” industry, but how does it contrast to its rivals? We will compare Aqua America to similar companies based on the strength of its profitability, valuation, dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations, risk and institutional ownership.

Valuation & Earnings

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This table compares Aqua America and its rivals revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Net Income Price/Earnings Ratio
Aqua America $809.53 million $239.73 million 24.68
Aqua America Competitors $722.21 million $111.68 million 23.07

Aqua America has higher revenue and earnings than its rivals. Aqua America is trading at a higher price-to-earnings ratio than its rivals, indicating that it is currently more expensive than other companies in its industry.

Dividends

Aqua America pays an annual dividend of $0.82 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Aqua America pays out 59.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. As a group, “Water supply” companies pay a dividend yield of 2.2% and pay out 53.9% of their earnings in the form of a dividend. Aqua America has raised its dividend for 10 consecutive years.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

53.9% of Aqua America shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 49.4% of shares of all “Water supply” companies are held by institutional investors. 0.2% of Aqua America shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 11.1% of shares of all “Water supply” companies are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Aqua America and its rivals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Aqua America 29.61% 12.68% 3.81%
Aqua America Competitors 8.09% 8.85% 2.61%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Aqua America and its rivals, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Aqua America 0 4 3 0 2.43
Aqua America Competitors 86 221 250 13 2.33

Aqua America currently has a consensus target price of $38.20, suggesting a potential upside of 12.98%. As a group, “Water supply” companies have a potential upside of 5.09%. Given Aqua America’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe Aqua America is more favorable than its rivals.

Volatility & Risk

Aqua America has a beta of 0.44, indicating that its stock price is 56% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Aqua America’s rivals have a beta of 0.51, indicating that their average stock price is 49% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Aqua America beats its rivals on 10 of the 15 factors compared.

Aqua America Company Profile

Aqua America, Inc. is a holding company. The Company is engaged in providing water or wastewater services concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. The Company is the holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources, Inc. (Aqua Resources) and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC (Aqua Infrastructure). Aqua Resources, Inc. provides water and wastewater service through operating and maintenance contracts with municipal authorities and other parties close to its utility companies’ service territories, and offers, through a third party, water and sewer line repair service and protection solutions to households. Aqua Infrastructure provides non-utility raw water supply services for firms in the natural gas drilling industry. The Company owns several wastewater collection systems that convey the wastewater to a municipally-owned facility for treatment.

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