Head to Head Comparison: JA Solar (JASO) & Pacific Ethanol (PEIX)

JA Solar (NASDAQ: JASO) and Pacific Ethanol (NASDAQ:PEIX) are both small-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings, institutional ownership, risk, profitability and valuation.

Volatility & Risk

JA Solar has a beta of 1, indicating that its stock price has a similar volatility profile to the S&P 500.Comparatively, Pacific Ethanol has a beta of 1.79, indicating that its stock price is 79% more volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares JA Solar and Pacific Ethanol’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
JA Solar 2.84% 7.73% 2.52%
Pacific Ethanol -2.14% -8.84% -4.96%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares JA Solar and Pacific Ethanol’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
JA Solar $2.27 billion 0.14 $102.89 million $1.54 4.34
Pacific Ethanol $1.63 billion 0.09 -$34.96 million ($0.86) -3.84

JA Solar has higher revenue and earnings than Pacific Ethanol. Pacific Ethanol is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than JA Solar, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

33.0% of JA Solar shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 78.3% of Pacific Ethanol shares are owned by institutional investors. 3.9% of Pacific Ethanol shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for JA Solar and Pacific Ethanol, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
JA Solar 1 2 0 0 1.67
Pacific Ethanol 0 0 3 0 3.00

JA Solar currently has a consensus target price of $6.33, indicating a potential downside of 5.19%. Pacific Ethanol has a consensus target price of $11.33, indicating a potential upside of 243.43%. Given Pacific Ethanol’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Pacific Ethanol is more favorable than JA Solar.


JA Solar beats Pacific Ethanol on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

JA Solar Company Profile

JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, and sells solar power products based on crystalline silicon technologies. The company's principal products include monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cells and modules. It also provides monocrystalline and multicrystalline silicon wafers; solar product processing services; and solar power plant project development and electricity generation services. The company sells its products primarily under the JA Solar brand name, as well as produces original equipment for manufacturers or customers under their brand names. JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. sells its solar cell and module products to module manufacturers, system integrators, project developers, and distributors worldwide. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Beijing, the People's Republic of China.

Pacific Ethanol Company Profile

Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Pacific Ethanol) is a marketer and producer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States. Pacific Ethanol markets all the ethanol produced by four ethanol production facilities located in California, Idaho and Oregon, or the Pacific Ethanol Plants, all the ethanol produced by three other ethanol producers in the Western United States and ethanol purchased from other third-party suppliers throughout the United States. It also markets ethanol co-products, including wet distiller’s grains and syrup (WDG), for the Pacific Ethanol Plants. Its 83% ownership interest in New PE Holdco LLC, the owner of each of the plant holding companies, that collectively own the Pacific Ethanol Plants. Its ethanol customers are integrated oil companies and gasoline marketers who blend ethanol into gasoline. Effective September 02, 2014, Pacific Ethanol Inc raised its interest to 96% from 91%, by acquiring a 5% interest, in PE Op Co.

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