Critical Contrast: Astrazeneca PLC (AZN) versus Its Peers

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) is one of 103 publicly-traded companies in the “Pharmaceuticals” industry, but how does it contrast to its peers? We will compare Astrazeneca PLC to similar companies based on the strength of its profitability, dividends, risk, valuation, earnings, institutional ownership and analyst recommendations.


This table compares Astrazeneca PLC and its peers’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Astrazeneca PLC 15.90% 34.02% 8.37%
Astrazeneca PLC Competitors -2,433.37% -69.15% -7.55%

Risk and Volatility

Astrazeneca PLC has a beta of 0.75, indicating that its share price is 25% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Astrazeneca PLC’s peers have a beta of 36.53, indicating that their average share price is 3,553% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Astrazeneca PLC pays an annual dividend of $1.37 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.1%. Astrazeneca PLC pays out 49.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. As a group, “Pharmaceuticals” companies pay a dividend yield of 2.5% and pay out 65.9% of their earnings in the form of a dividend. Astrazeneca PLC is clearly a better dividend stock than its peers, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

14.4% of Astrazeneca PLC shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 44.4% of shares of all “Pharmaceuticals” companies are owned by institutional investors. 11.0% of shares of all “Pharmaceuticals” companies are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Astrazeneca PLC and its peers gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue NetIncome Price/Earnings Ratio
Astrazeneca PLC $23.00 billion $3.50 billion 11.99
Astrazeneca PLC Competitors $8.31 billion $1.11 billion 130.70

Astrazeneca PLC has higher revenue and earnings than its peers. Astrazeneca PLC is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than its peers, indicating that it is currently more affordable than other companies in its industry.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Astrazeneca PLC and its peers, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Astrazeneca PLC 1 7 11 0 2.53
Astrazeneca PLC Competitors 861 3769 6732 178 2.54

Astrazeneca PLC currently has a consensus price target of $36.60, suggesting a potential upside of 9.38%. As a group, “Pharmaceuticals” companies have a potential upside of 34.22%. Given Astrazeneca PLC’s peers stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Astrazeneca PLC has less favorable growth aspects than its peers.


Astrazeneca PLC peers beat Astrazeneca PLC on 8 of the 15 factors compared.

About Astrazeneca PLC

AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca) is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovery and development of products, which are then manufactured, marketed and sold. The Company focuses on three main therapy areas: Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) and Respiratory, while selectively pursuing therapies in Autoimmunity, Infection and Neuroscience. In CVMD, it is expanding its portfolio into the cardiovascular-renal area with late-stage assets, such as ZS-9 and roxadustat, as well as investing to explore the benefits of its SGLT2 and GLP-1 franchises in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart failure (HF). The Company has approximately 40 projects in Phase I, including 29 new molecular entities (NMEs), and 11 oncology combination projects. It has approximately 40 projects in Phase II, including 25 NMEs; four significant additional indications for projects that have reached phase II, and seven oncology combination projects.

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