Koppers Holdings (NYSE: KOP) and Airgas (NYSE:ARG) are both basic materials companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, earnings, valuation and profitability.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Koppers Holdings and Airgas, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Koppers Holdings 0 1 3 0 2.75
Airgas 0 0 0 0 N/A

Koppers Holdings presently has a consensus price target of $45.75, suggesting a potential downside of 6.06%. Given Koppers Holdings’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Koppers Holdings is more favorable than Airgas.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

87.8% of Koppers Holdings shares are owned by institutional investors. 3.9% of Koppers Holdings shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Koppers Holdings and Airgas’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Koppers Holdings 3.02% 153.51% 6.24%
Airgas 5.98% 15.44% 5.04%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Koppers Holdings and Airgas’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Koppers Holdings $1.41 billion 0.72 $169.90 million $1.98 24.60
Airgas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Koppers Holdings has higher revenue and earnings than Airgas.

Summary

Koppers Holdings beats Airgas on 7 of the 8 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Koppers Holdings

Koppers Holdings Inc. is a global integrated provider of treated wood products, wood treatment chemicals and carbon compounds. The Company operates through three segments: Railroad and Utility Products and Services (RUPS), Carbon Materials and Chemicals (CMC) and Performance Chemicals (PC). The RUPS business sells treated and untreated wood products, rail joint bars and services primarily to the railroad markets. The primary products supplied by PC business are copper-based wood preservatives, including micronized copper quaternary and micronized copper azole (MicroPro), micronized pigments (MicroShades) and chromated copper arsenate. Through CMC business, the Company processes coal tar into a range of products, including carbon pitch, creosote and carbon black feedstock. Its products and services are used in a range of markets, including the railroad, specialty chemical, utility, residential lumber, agriculture, aluminum, steel, rubber and construction industries.

About Airgas

Airgas, Inc. is a supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hard goods, such as welding equipment and related products. The Company is also a producer of atmospheric gases, carbon dioxide, dry ice and nitrous oxide and a supplier of safety products, refrigerants, ammonia products and process chemicals. It operates through two segments: Distribution and All Other Operations. The Distribution segment offers a portfolio of related gas and hard goods products and services to the end customers. The All Other Operations segment consists of five business units which manufacture or distribute carbon dioxide, dry ice, nitrous oxide, ammonia and refrigerant gases. It also offers supply chain management services and solutions, and product and process technical support across many customer segments. It markets its products and services through multiple sales channels, including branch-based sales representatives, retail stores and strategic customer account programs, among others.

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