Reviewing PPL (PPL) & IDACORP (IDA)


PPL (NYSE:PPL) and IDACORP (NYSE:IDA) are both utilities companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, earnings, risk, valuation, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

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This is a breakdown of current ratings for PPL and IDACORP, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
PPL 1 7 2 0 2.10
IDACORP 1 1 0 0 1.50

PPL currently has a consensus target price of $34.38, indicating a potential upside of 7.49%. IDACORP has a consensus target price of $88.00, indicating a potential downside of 12.30%. Given PPL’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities research analysts clearly believe PPL is more favorable than IDACORP.

Risk and Volatility

PPL has a beta of 0.55, indicating that its stock price is 45% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, IDACORP has a beta of 0.42, indicating that its stock price is 58% less volatile than the S&P 500.


Earnings and Valuation

This table compares PPL and IDACORP’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
PPL $7.79 billion 2.96 $1.83 billion $2.40 13.33
IDACORP $1.37 billion 3.69 $212.41 million $4.49 22.35

PPL has higher revenue and earnings than IDACORP. PPL is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than IDACORP, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


Dividends

PPL pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.1%. IDACORP pays an annual dividend of $2.52 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. PPL pays out 68.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. IDACORP pays out 56.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. PPL has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years and IDACORP has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Profitability


This table compares PPL and IDACORP’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
PPL 23.47% 14.91% 3.98%
IDACORP 16.55% 9.81% 3.63%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

75.6% of PPL shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 77.1% of IDACORP shares are held by institutional investors. 0.4% of PPL shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of IDACORP shares are held by 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.


Summary

PPL beats IDACORP on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About PPL

PPL Corporation, a utility holding company, delivers electricity and natural gas in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates through three segments: U.K. Regulated, Kentucky Regulated, and Pennsylvania Regulated. It serves approximately 414,000 electric and 328,000 natural gas customers in Louisville and adjacent areas in Kentucky; 527,000 electric customers in central, southeastern, and western Kentucky; and 28,000 electric customers in 5 counties in southwestern Virginia. The company also provides electric delivery services to approximately 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania; operates electricity distribution networks in the United Kingdom; generates electricity from coal, gas, hydro, and solar sources in Kentucky; and sells wholesale electricity to 10 municipalities in Kentucky. PPL Corporation was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


About IDACORP

IDACORP, Inc., through its subsidiary, Idaho Power Company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, purchase, and sale of electric energy in the United States. The company operates 17 hydroelectric generating plants located in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon; 3 natural gas-fired plants in southern Idaho; and interests in 3 coal-fired steam electric generating plants located in Wyoming, Nevada, and Oregon. As of December 31, 2018, it also had approximately 4,816 pole-miles of high-voltage transmission lines; 24 step-up transmission substations located at power plants; 21 transmission substations; 9 switching stations; 32 mixed-use transmission and distribution substations; 183 energized distribution substations; and 27,569 pole-miles of distribution lines, as well as provides electric utility services to approximately 558,000 retail customers in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. The company's principal commercial and industrial customers are involved in food processing, electronics and general manufacturing, agriculture, health care, and winter recreation activities. IDACORP, Inc., through its other subsidiaries, invests in housing and other real estate investments. The company was founded in 1915 and is headquartered in Boise, Idaho.