Critical Survey: Athlon Energy (ATHL) versus Rice Energy (RICE)

Athlon Energy (NYSE: ATHL) and Rice Energy (NYSE:RICE) are both mid-cap companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, valuation, earnings and profitability.

Profitability

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This table compares Athlon Energy and Rice Energy’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Athlon Energy N/A N/A N/A
Rice Energy 12.25% -13.19% 2.20%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

87.2% of Rice Energy shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.7% of Rice Energy shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Athlon Energy and Rice Energy’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Athlon Energy N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rice Energy $778.91 million 8.58 -$269.75 million N/A N/A

Athlon Energy has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Rice Energy.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Athlon Energy and Rice Energy, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Athlon Energy 0 0 0 0 N/A
Rice Energy 0 17 3 0 2.15

Rice Energy has a consensus target price of $27.53, suggesting a potential downside of 6.10%. Given Rice Energy’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Rice Energy is more favorable than Athlon Energy.

Summary

Rice Energy beats Athlon Energy on 7 of the 8 factors compared between the two stocks.

Athlon Energy Company Profile

Athlon Energy Inc., is an independent exploration and production company. The Company is a holding company and its sole assets are controlling equity interests in Athlon Holdings LP and its subsidiaries. The Company is focused on the acquisition, development and exploitation of unconventional oil and liquids-rich natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin. The Permian Basin spans portions of Texas and New Mexico and consists of three primary sub-basins: the Delaware Basin, the Central Basin Platform and the Midland Basin. The Company’s properties are located in the Midland Basin. In February 2014, Athlon Energy Inc announced that subsidiary, Athlon Holdings LP completed the acquisition of certain oil and natural gas properties and related assets in the Midland Basin of West Texas.

Rice Energy Company Profile

Rice Energy Inc. (Rice Energy) is an independent natural gas and oil company. The Company is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) properties in the Appalachian Basin. The Company conducts its operations through two segments: Exploration and Production, and Midstream. The Exploration and Production segment is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural gas, oil and NGLs. The Exploration and Production segment operates in the cores of the Marcellus and Utica Shales. The Company controls approximately 231,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Ohio Utica Shale cores. It operates approximately 1,164 drilling locations. The Midstream segment is engaged in the gathering and compression of natural gas, oil and NGL production of, and in the provision of water services to support the well completion activities of, Rice Energy and third parties.

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