Critical Contrast: Materialise (MTLS) and Epocrates (EPOC)

Materialise (NASDAQ: MTLS) and Epocrates (NASDAQ:EPOC) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, profitability, valuation and institutional ownership.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

12.0% of Materialise shares are owned by institutional investors. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Materialise and Epocrates’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Materialise -2.07% -3.45% -1.55%
Epocrates N/A N/A N/A

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Materialise and Epocrates’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Materialise $120.67 million 4.91 -$3.34 million ($0.07) -178.69
Epocrates N/A N/A N/A ($0.30) -39.10

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

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for Materialise and Epocrates, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Materialise 0 0 4 0 3.00
Epocrates 0 0 0 0 N/A

Materialise presently has a consensus target price of $15.50, suggesting a potential upside of 23.90%. Given Materialise’s higher probable upside, equities analysts plainly believe Materialise is more favorable than Epocrates.

Summary

Materialise beats Epocrates on 5 of the 8 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Materialise

Materialise NV is a Belgium-based company engaged in the software industry. The Company is a provider of additive manufacturing software and of three dimensional (3D) printing services. Materialise NV incorporates of 3D printing experience into a range of software solution and 3D printing services, through which the Company seeks to form the backbone of the 3D printing industry. Its solutions enable players in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, automotive, aerospace, art and design, and consumer goods, to build 3D printing applications. The Company operates in the domestic market and worldwide, including Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, China, Japan, Austria, Poland, Germany and France, among others.

About Epocrates

Epocrates, Inc. (Epocrates) is a provider of mobile drug reference tools and electronic health records to healthcare professionals and interactive services to the healthcare industry. As of December 31, 2011, its user network consists of well over one million healthcare professionals, including approximately 340,000, or more than 50% of United States physicians. The Company offers its products on major United States mobile platforms, including Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Epocrates operates in two segments: Subscriptions and Interactive Services, and Electronic Health Records. It uses brand names include DocAlert, Epocrates, Epocrates Honors, Epocrates ID, Epocrates Lab, Epocrates MedTools, Epocrates Rx, Epocrates Rx Pro, Epocrates Dx, Epocrates QuickSurvey, Epocrates QuickRecruit, Epocrates MedInsight, EssentialPoints and MedCafe. In October 2011, it launched a redesign of the drug reference tool to create a new platform that provides healthcare professionals.

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