Critical Comparison: Catchmark Timber Trust (NYSE:CTT) & Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ)

Catchmark Timber Trust (NYSE:CTT) and Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, dividends, profitability, risk, institutional ownership and analyst recommendations.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

81.9% of Catchmark Timber Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 96.5% of Cousins Properties shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.0% of Catchmark Timber Trust shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.9% of Cousins Properties 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.

Dividends

Catchmark Timber Trust pays an annual dividend of $0.54 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.6%. Cousins Properties pays an annual dividend of $1.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. Catchmark Timber Trust pays out -21.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Cousins Properties pays out 46.0% 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. Catchmark Timber Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Profitability

This table compares Catchmark Timber Trust and Cousins Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Catchmark Timber Trust -119.09% -48.74% -17.00%
Cousins Properties 9.50% 1.55% 1.02%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Catchmark Timber Trust and Cousins Properties’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Catchmark Timber Trust $97.86 million 5.92 -$122.01 million ($2.55) -4.64
Cousins Properties $475.21 million 12.50 $79.16 million $2.52 16.06

Cousins Properties has higher revenue and earnings than Catchmark Timber Trust. Catchmark Timber Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Cousins Properties, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk & Volatility

Catchmark Timber Trust has a beta of 1.26, suggesting that its share price is 26% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Cousins Properties has a beta of 0.91, suggesting that its share price is 9% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for Catchmark Timber Trust and Cousins Properties, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Catchmark Timber Trust 0 1 3 0 2.75
Cousins Properties 0 0 3 0 3.00

Catchmark Timber Trust presently has a consensus target price of $11.50, indicating a potential downside of 2.79%. Cousins Properties has a consensus target price of $31.67, indicating a potential downside of 21.75%. Given Catchmark Timber Trust’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Catchmark Timber Trust is more favorable than Cousins Properties.

Summary

Cousins Properties beats Catchmark Timber Trust on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Catchmark Timber Trust

CatchMark (NYSE: CTT) is a pure play timberland REIT that strives to deliver consistent and predictable per-share cash flow growth through disciplined acquisitions, active management, sustainable harvests and well-timed real estate sales. Headquartered in Atlanta and focused exclusively on timberland ownership and management, CatchMark began operations in 2007 and owns interests in 1.6 million acres* of timberlands located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

About Cousins Properties

Cousins Properties is a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company, based in Atlanta, GA and acting through its operating partnership, Cousins Properties LP, primarily invests in Class A office towers located in high-growth Sun Belt markets. Founded in 1958, Cousins creates shareholder value through its extensive expertise in the development, acquisition, leasing and management of high-quality real estate assets. The Company has a comprehensive strategy in place based on a simple platform, trophy assets and opportunistic investments.

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