Comparing Greif (GEF.B) and Sonoco Products (SON)

Greif (NYSE:GEF.B) and Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) are both mid-cap industrial products companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, profitability, valuation, risk, earnings and dividends.

Volatility & Risk

Greif has a beta of 1.14, suggesting that its share price is 14% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Sonoco Products has a beta of 0.98, suggesting that its share price is 2% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Greif and Sonoco Products’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Greif $3.64 billion 0.70 $118.60 million N/A N/A
Sonoco Products $5.04 billion 1.14 $175.34 million $2.79 20.60

Sonoco Products has higher revenue and earnings than Greif.


This table compares Greif and Sonoco Products’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Greif 5.26% 17.84% 6.03%
Sonoco Products 4.53% 18.42% 7.12%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for Greif and Sonoco Products, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Greif 0 0 0 0 N/A
Sonoco Products 0 4 1 0 2.20

Sonoco Products has a consensus target price of $57.25, indicating a potential downside of 0.40%. Given Sonoco Products’ higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Sonoco Products is more favorable than Greif.


Greif pays an annual dividend of $2.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.0%. Sonoco Products pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. Sonoco Products pays out 58.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Sonoco Products has increased its dividend for 37 consecutive years.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

5.7% of Greif shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.3% of Sonoco Products shares are held by institutional investors. 16.2% of Greif shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of Sonoco Products shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


Sonoco Products beats Greif on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Greif

Greif, Inc. is a producer of industrial packaging products and services. The Company’s segments are Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services; Paper Packaging & Services; Flexible Products & Services, and Land Management. The Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services segment is engaged in the production and sale of rigid industrial packaging products, and services, such as container life cycle management, filling, logistics, warehousing and other packaging services. The Paper Packaging & Services segment is engaged in the production and sale of containerboard, corrugated sheets, corrugated containers and other corrugated products. The Flexible Products & Services segment is engaged in the production and sale of flexible intermediate bulk containers and related services on a global basis. The Land Management segment is involved in the management and sale of timber. As of October 31, 2016, the Company had operations in over 45 countries.

About Sonoco Products

Sonoco Products Company manufactures and sells industrial and consumer packaging products in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company operates through four segments: Consumer Packaging, Display and Packaging, Paper and Industrial Converted Products, and Protective Solutions. The Consumer Packaging segment offers composite and thermoformed plastic round and shaped rigid containers and trays; extruded and injection-molded plastic products; printed flexible packaging products; brand artwork management; and metal and peelable membrane ends and closures. The Display and Packaging segment offers point-of-purchase displays; supply chain management services comprising contract packing, fulfillment, and scalable service centers; retail packaging, including printed backer cards, thermoformed blisters, and heat sealing equipment; and paper amenities, such as coasters and glass covers. The Paper and Industrial Converted Products segment provides paperboard tubes and cores; fiber-based construction tubes and forms; wooden, metal, and composite wire and cable reels and spools; and recycled paperboard, linerboard, corrugating medium, recovered paper, and material recycling services. The Protective Solutions segment provides custom-engineered, paperboard-based, and expanded foam protective packaging and components; and temperature-assured packaging products. The company sells its products in various markets, which include paper, textile, film, food, chemical, packaging, construction, and wire and cable. Sonoco Products Company was founded in 1899 and is headquartered in Hartsville, South Carolina.

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