Critical Comparison: Citizens (NASDAQ:CIZN) vs. South State (NASDAQ:SSB)

Citizens (NASDAQ:CIZN) and South State (NASDAQ:SSB) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability and earnings.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

8.3% of Citizens shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 81.0% of South State shares are held by institutional investors. 11.0% of Citizens shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.1% of South State shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Citizens and South State’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Citizens $45.11 million 2.35 $5.90 million N/A N/A
South State $734.39 million 2.73 $186.48 million $5.63 10.64

South State has higher revenue and earnings than Citizens.

Profitability

This table compares Citizens and South State’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Citizens 13.08% 5.92% 0.54%
South State 25.39% 8.26% 1.25%

Dividends

Citizens pays an annual dividend of $0.96 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.1%. South State pays an annual dividend of $1.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. South State pays out 33.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. South State has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Volatility & Risk

Citizens has a beta of -0.03, indicating that its stock price is 103% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, South State has a beta of 1.27, indicating that its stock price is 27% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Citizens and South State, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Citizens 0 0 0 0 N/A
South State 0 2 1 0 2.33

South State has a consensus price target of $80.00, suggesting a potential upside of 33.49%. Given South State’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe South State is more favorable than Citizens.

Summary

South State beats Citizens on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Citizens

Citizens Holding Company operates as the bank holding company for The Citizens Bank of Philadelphia that provides various commercial and personal banking products and services. The company offers demand deposits, as well as savings and time deposit accounts. It also provides secured and unsecured loans; mortgage loans; installment loans; credit card loans; single and multi-family housing, farm, residential and commercial construction, and commercial real estate loans; commercial, industrial, and agricultural production loans; and consumer loans, as well as issues letters of credit. In addition, the company offers personal and corporate trust services; credit life and title insurance; and online banking services. It operates 23 branches in Neshoba, Newton, Leake, Lamar, Forrest, Scott, Attala, Lauderdale, Oktibbeha, Rankin, Harrison, Jackson, Winston, and Kemper counties, Mississippi; and a loan production office in north Mississippi. Citizens Holding Company was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

About South State

South State Corporation operates as the bank holding company for South State Bank that provides a range of retail and commercial banking services, mortgage lending services, trust and wealth management services, and consumer finance loans. The company accepts demand deposits, savings deposits, interest-bearing transaction accounts, certificates of deposit, and other time deposits; and offers lending and credit card, and ATM processing services. It serves customers through 168 financial centers in 29 South Carolina counties, 8 North Carolina counties, 17 Georgia counties, and 4 Virginia counties. The company was formerly known as First Financial Holdings, Inc. and changed its name to South State Corporation in July 2013. South State Corporation was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina.

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