MDU Resources Group (NYSE: HCLP) and Hi-Crush Partners (NYSE:HCLP) are both utilities companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, analyst recommendations, profitability, risk, dividends and earnings.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares MDU Resources Group and Hi-Crush Partners’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
MDU Resources Group $4.44 billion 1.19 $281.20 million $1.25 21.66
Hi-Crush Partners $602.62 million 1.81 $82.53 million $1.01 12.23

MDU Resources Group has higher revenue and earnings than Hi-Crush Partners. Hi-Crush Partners is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than MDU Resources Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility & Risk

MDU Resources Group has a beta of 0.59, indicating that its share price is 41% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Hi-Crush Partners has a beta of 1.39, indicating that its share price is 39% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for MDU Resources Group and Hi-Crush Partners, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
MDU Resources Group 0 1 1 0 2.50
Hi-Crush Partners 0 8 7 0 2.47

MDU Resources Group presently has a consensus target price of $29.00, indicating a potential upside of 7.09%. Hi-Crush Partners has a consensus target price of $16.87, indicating a potential upside of 36.58%. Given Hi-Crush Partners’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Hi-Crush Partners is more favorable than MDU Resources Group.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

64.0% of MDU Resources Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 24.3% of Hi-Crush Partners shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.0% of MDU Resources Group shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 34.8% of Hi-Crush Partners shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares MDU Resources Group and Hi-Crush Partners’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
MDU Resources Group 6.45% 10.40% 3.93%
Hi-Crush Partners 22.92% 24.51% 17.57%

Dividends

MDU Resources Group pays an annual dividend of $0.79 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. Hi-Crush Partners pays an annual dividend of $3.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 24.3%. MDU Resources Group pays out 63.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Hi-Crush Partners pays out 297.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. MDU Resources Group has raised its dividend for 8 consecutive years and Hi-Crush Partners has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Summary

Hi-Crush Partners beats MDU Resources Group on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

MDU Resources Group Company Profile

MDU Resources Group, Inc. engages in regulated energy delivery, and construction materials and services businesses in the United States. The company operates through five segments: Electric, Natural Gas Distribution, Pipeline and Midstream, Construction Materials and Contracting, and Construction Services. The Electric segment generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. As of December 31, 2017, it served 142,901 residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in 178 communities and adjacent rural areas. The Natural Gas Distribution segment distributes natural gas in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, as well as Idaho, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington; and offers related value-added services. It served approximately 938,867 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in 335 communities and adjacent rural areas. The Pipeline and Midstream segment provides natural gas transportation, underground storage, and gathering services primarily in the Rocky Mountain and northern Great Plains regions. It also provides cathodic protection and other energy-related services. The Construction Materials and Contracting segment mines, processes, and sells construction aggregates; produces and sells asphalt mix; and supplies ready-mixed concrete in the central, southern, and western United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. The Construction Services segment designs, constructs, and maintains overhead and underground electrical distribution and transmission lines, substations, external lighting, traffic signalization, and gas pipelines; electrical and communication wiring and infrastructure, and fire suppression systems; and renewable energy projects. It also offers utility excavation, and mechanical piping and services; and manufactures and distributes transmission line construction equipment and other supplies. The company was founded in 1924 and is based in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Hi-Crush Partners Company Profile

Hi-Crush Partners LP, together with its subsidiaries, provides proppant and logistics solutions to the energy industry in North America. The company produces monocrystalline sand, a specialized mineral used as a proppant during the well completion process to facilitate the recovery of hydrocarbons from oil and natural gas wells. It owns, operates, and develops sand reserves, and excavation and processing facilities, which include 1,447-acre facility with integrated rail infrastructure, located near Independence, Wisconsin and Whitehall, Wisconsin; 971-acre facility with integrated rail infrastructure, located in Wyeville, Wisconsin; 1,187-acre Augusta facility with integrated rail infrastructure, situated in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin; and 1,285-acre facility with integrated rail infrastructure, located near Blair, Wisconsin. The company offers raw frac sand used in hydraulic fracturing process for oil and natural gas wells. It primarily serves pressure pumping service providers, and oil and gas exploration and production companies. Hi-Crush GP LLC operates as the general partner of the company. Hi-Crush Partners LP was founded in 2012 and is based in Houston, Texas.

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