Critical Comparison: Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) versus First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMS)

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFSTGet Free Report) and First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMSGet Free Report) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, valuation and institutional ownership.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for Southern First Bancshares and First Bancshares, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Southern First Bancshares 0 0 1 0 3.00
First Bancshares 0 2 2 0 2.50

Southern First Bancshares presently has a consensus target price of $44.00, suggesting a potential upside of 61.11%. First Bancshares has a consensus target price of $31.00, suggesting a potential upside of 24.40%. Given Southern First Bancshares’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities research analysts clearly believe Southern First Bancshares is more favorable than First Bancshares.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Southern First Bancshares and First Bancshares’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Southern First Bancshares $187.46 million 1.19 $13.43 million $1.64 16.65
First Bancshares $387.64 million 2.01 $75.46 million $2.52 9.89

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

Risk and Volatility

Southern First Bancshares has a beta of 0.82, suggesting that its stock price is 18% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, First Bancshares has a beta of 0.9, suggesting that its stock price is 10% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Southern First Bancshares and First Bancshares’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Southern First Bancshares 6.69% 4.30% 0.33%
First Bancshares 20.00% 9.73% 1.14%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

75.0% of Southern First Bancshares shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 70.0% of First Bancshares shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.6% of Southern First Bancshares shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 3.5% of First Bancshares shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

First Bancshares beats Southern First Bancshares on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Southern First Bancshares

(Get Free Report)

Southern First Bancshares, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Southern First Bank that provides commercial, consumer, and mortgage loans to the general public in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. The company accepts various deposit products that include checking accounts, commercial checking accounts, and savings accounts, as well as other time deposits, including daily money market accounts and long-term certificates of deposit. Its loan portfolio comprises commercial real estate loans; construction real estate loans; commercial business loans for various lines of businesses, such as the manufacturing, service industry, and professional service areas; consumer real estate and home equity loans; and other consumer loans, including secured and unsecured installment loans and revolving lines of credit. In addition, the company provides other bank services, such as internet banking, cash management, safe deposit boxes, direct deposit, automatic drafts, bill payment, and mobile banking services. Southern First Bancshares, Inc. was incorporated in 1999 and is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina.

About First Bancshares

(Get Free Report)

The First Bancshares, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for The First Bank that provides general commercial and retail banking services. The company operates through three segments: Commercial/Retail Bank, Mortgage Banking Division, and Holding Company. It offers deposit services, including checking, NOW, and savings accounts; other time deposits, such as daily money market accounts and longer-term certificates of deposit; and individual retirement and health savings accounts. The company also provides commercial loans comprising secured and unsecured loans for working capital, business expansion, and purchase of equipment and machinery; consumer loans consisting of equity lines of credit, as well as secured and unsecured loans for financing automobiles, home improvements, education, and personal investments; and real estate construction and acquisition loans. In addition, it originates loans to purchase existing residential homes, construct new homes, and to refinance existing mortgages; and provides financial and wealth management services. Further, the company offers online internet banking services, automated teller machines, voice response telephone inquiry services, commercial sweep accounts, cash management services, safe deposit boxes, merchant services, mobile deposit, direct deposit of payroll and social security checks, automatic drafts for various accounts, and credit card services. It serves small to medium-sized businesses, professional concerns, individuals, associations, organizations, and governmental authorities. The company operates full-service banking and financial service offices, motor bank facility, and loan production offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. The First Bancshares, Inc. was incorporated in 1995 and is headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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