Analyzing PDF Solutions (PDFS) and Photronics (PLAB)

PDF Solutions (NASDAQ: PDFS) and Photronics (NASDAQ:PLAB) are both small-cap technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, dividends, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings and profitability.

Risk and Volatility

PDF Solutions has a beta of 1.47, indicating that its share price is 47% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Photronics has a beta of 0.55, indicating that its share price is 45% less volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares PDF Solutions and Photronics’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
PDF Solutions 4.08% 2.10% 1.88%
Photronics 2.91% 1.55% 1.30%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares PDF Solutions and Photronics’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
PDF Solutions $107.46 million 4.66 $9.10 million $0.13 120.62
Photronics $450.68 million 1.31 $13.13 million $0.19 45.00

Photronics has higher revenue and earnings than PDF Solutions. Photronics is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than PDF Solutions, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations for PDF Solutions and Photronics, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
PDF Solutions 0 1 1 0 2.50
Photronics 0 0 1 0 3.00

PDF Solutions presently has a consensus price target of $20.00, indicating a potential upside of 27.55%. Photronics has a consensus price target of $13.00, indicating a potential upside of 52.05%. Given Photronics’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Photronics is more favorable than PDF Solutions.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

86.2% of PDF Solutions shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 94.5% of Photronics shares are held by institutional investors. 15.0% of PDF Solutions shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 3.7% of Photronics shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


PDF Solutions beats Photronics on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About PDF Solutions

PDF Solutions, Inc. is a provider of infrastructure technologies and services for integrated circuits (IC). The Company’s technologies and services focus on the IC manufacturing process life cycle. It operates in the segment of licensing and implementation of yield improvement solutions for integrated circuit manufacturers. The Company’s solutions combine software, test chips, an electrical wafer test system, methodologies and professional services. The Company has developed solutions for yield simulation, analysis, loss detection, and improvement. Its characterization vehicle infrastructure (CVi) enables customers to electrically characterize the manufacturing process, and establish fail-rate information needed to calibrate manufacturing yield models and prioritize yield improvement activities. Its Exensio YieldAware solution combines software and services to enable customers to collect and combine product test data and equipment signals during production.

About Photronics

Photronics, Inc. is a manufacturer of photomasks, which are photographic quartz plates containing microscopic images of electronic circuits. As of October 30, 2016, the Company operated principally from nine manufacturing facilities: two located in Europe, three in Taiwan, one in Korea and three in the United States. Photomasks are used in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays (FPDs), and are used as masters to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs), and a range of FPDs and other types of electrical and optical components. The Company offers reticle and photomask maintenance, including pellicle replacement, mask cleaning and re-certification, at all its sites across the world. Its products include Mature Binary, Advanced Binary Reticles, Phase Shift Masks-Embedded Attenuated Phase Shift Masks (EAPSM), Other Advanced Products and Large Area Masks.

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