Analyzing Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ:PLL) and Compass Minerals International (NASDAQ:CMP)

Compass Minerals International (NYSE:CMP) and Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ:PLL) are both small-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, earnings, institutional ownership and dividends.

Volatility and Risk

Compass Minerals International has a beta of 1.36, indicating that its stock price is 36% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Piedmont Lithium has a beta of 1.59, indicating that its stock price is 59% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

91.7% of Compass Minerals International shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 0.1% of Piedmont Lithium shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.6% of Compass Minerals International shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Piedmont Lithium 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.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Compass Minerals International and Piedmont Lithium, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Compass Minerals International 1 2 1 0 2.00
Piedmont Lithium 0 0 0 0 N/A

Compass Minerals International currently has a consensus price target of $56.52, indicating a potential downside of 1.59%. Given Compass Minerals International’s higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Compass Minerals International is more favorable than Piedmont Lithium.


This table compares Compass Minerals International and Piedmont Lithium’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Compass Minerals International 4.09% 11.01% 2.51%
Piedmont Lithium N/A N/A N/A


Compass Minerals International pays an annual dividend of $2.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.0%. Piedmont Lithium does not pay a dividend. Compass Minerals International pays out 149.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Compass Minerals International and Piedmont Lithium’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Compass Minerals International $1.49 billion 1.30 $68.80 million $1.93 29.76
Piedmont Lithium N/A N/A -$9.95 million ($1.91) -3.40

Compass Minerals International has higher revenue and earnings than Piedmont Lithium. Piedmont Lithium is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Compass Minerals International, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


Compass Minerals International beats Piedmont Lithium on 11 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Compass Minerals International Company Profile

Compass Minerals International, Inc., produces and sells salt, and specialty plant nutrition and chemical products primarily in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. It operates through three segments: Salt, Plant Nutrition North America, and Plant Nutrition South America. The Salt segment offers sodium chloride and magnesium chloride, including rock salt, mechanically and solar evaporated salt, and brine and flake magnesium chloride products; and purchases potassium chloride and calcium chloride to sell as finished products or to blend with salt to produce specialty products. This segment provides products for use as a deicer for roadways, consumer, and professional use; as an ingredient in chemical production; for water treatment, human, and animal nutrition; and for various other consumer and industrial uses, as well as records management services. The Plant Nutrition North America segment offers sulfate of potash specialty fertilizers in various grades, including agricultural products used in broadcast spreaders, direct application, and liquid fertilizer solutions; turf products used by the turf and ornamental markets, as well as for blends used on golf course greens; organic products under the Protassium+ brand; and micronutrient products under the Wolf Trax brand, as well as specialty plant nutrition solution-based products and chemical solutions. This segment provides its products to distributors and retailers of crop inputs, as well as growers. The Plant Nutrition South America segment offers various specialty plant nutrients and supplements; water and wastewater treatment chemicals for cleaning, decontaminating, and purifying water; and process chemicals for industrial use. The company was formerly known as Salt Holdings Corporation and changed its name to Compass Minerals International, Inc. in December 2003. Compass Minerals International, Inc. was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.

Piedmont Lithium Company Profile

Piedmont Lithium Limited engages in the exploration and development of mineral properties in the United States. It primarily holds a 100% interest in the Piedmont lithium project covering a landholding of 1,092 acres in the Carolina Lithium Belt, North Carolina. The company was formerly known as WCP Resources Limited and changed its name to Piedmont Lithium Limited in August 2017. Piedmont Lithium Limited is based in Perth, Australia.

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