Critical Review: MSA Safety (NYSE:MSA) vs. Avitar (NYSE:AVTI)

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MSA Safety (NYSE:MSA) and Avitar (OTCMKTS:AVTI) are both industrial products companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, earnings and profitability.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

74.3% of MSA Safety shares are held by institutional investors. 9.1% of MSA Safety shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 7.4% of Avitar shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings for MSA Safety and Avitar, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
MSA Safety 0 2 1 0 2.33
Avitar 0 0 0 0 N/A

MSA Safety presently has a consensus price target of $106.10, indicating a potential upside of 4.15%. Given MSA Safety’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe MSA Safety is more favorable than Avitar.

Profitability

This table compares MSA Safety and Avitar’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
MSA Safety 8.47% 27.93% 10.98%
Avitar N/A N/A N/A

Volatility & Risk

MSA Safety has a beta of 1.32, indicating that its share price is 32% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Avitar has a beta of 0.31, indicating that its share price is 69% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares MSA Safety and Avitar’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
MSA Safety $1.36 billion 2.90 $124.15 million $4.50 22.64
Avitar N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

MSA Safety has higher revenue and earnings than Avitar.

Dividends

MSA Safety pays an annual dividend of $1.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. Avitar does not pay a dividend. MSA Safety pays out 37.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. MSA Safety has raised its dividend for 47 consecutive years.

Summary

MSA Safety beats Avitar on 11 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

MSA Safety Company Profile

MSA Safety Incorporated develops, manufactures, and supplies safety products that protect people and facility infrastructures in the oil, gas, petrochemical, fire service, construction, utilities, and mining industries worldwide. It operates through Americas and International segments. The company's core product offerings include permanently installed fixed gas and flame detection instruments, such as permanently installed gas detection monitoring systems, and flame detectors and open-path infrared gas detectors, as well as replacement components and related services to detect the presence or absence of various gases in the air. Its core product offerings also consist of breathing apparatus products, such as self-contained breathing apparatus, face masks, and respirators; hand-held portable gas detection instruments; industrial head protection products; firefighter helmets and protective apparel; and fall protection equipment comprising confined space equipment, harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines. In addition, the company offers respirators, eye and face protection products, ballistic helmets, and gas masks. It serves distributors, and industrial or military end-users through indirect and direct sales channels. The company was founded in 1914 and is based in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania.

Avitar Company Profile

Avitar, Inc. is a holding company which through its subsidiaries designs, develops, manufactures, and markets diagnostic test products and proprietary hydrophilic polyurethane foam disposables for medical, diagnostics, dental, and consumer applications in the United States. It offers ORALscreen 4 and ORALscreen DRUGOMETER, the oral fluid-based onsite assay systems, for detecting drugs of abuse, such as opiates, including heroin, morphine, codeine, and synthetic opiates comprising oxycocone-oxycontin, percoset, and hydrocodone-vicodin; cocaine such as crack; marijuana; and methamphetamines, including meth and ecstasy. The company also provides foam disposable products including medical-grade hydrophilic polyurethane foam disposables such as wound dressings comprising Hydrasorb, a wound dressing product for exudating wounds; and various custom foam products comprising a sinus dressing and a device used by astronauts for relieving ear pressure while in a pressurized space suit. In addition, it develops specialty wound dressings for the cardiac catheter lab market, as well as the Illizarov Dressing used for dressing external bone fixators in orthopedic procedures. The company markets its products and services to employers, diagnostic test distributors, medical supply companies, governmental agencies, schools, and corporations through direct sales force and strategic partners, as well as through a network of distributors. Avitar, Inc. was founded in 1986 and is based in Canton, Massachusetts with Additional office in Calgary, Canada.

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