The trajectories of PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) and Coca-Cola Co.’s (KO) revenue might have been similar for over a decade, but some metrics say PepsiCo is cheaper than Coca-Cola. (See also: Soda Companies Might Want to Go Back to Basics.)
Both of the beverage companies saw their revenue grow in similar fashion from around 2001 to 2011, even though PEP makes significantly more revenue. However, since 2012, both KO and PEP have seen their revenue dip in a similar fashion. PEP’s revenue has dipped by roughly 7.7% while KO’s revenue has dipped by almost 10%.
While Coca-Cola has been undergoing restructuring, weakening soda sales is the biggest reason both are struggling to grow their respective top-lines. Fortune reported in March 2016 that soda consumption in the US had fallen to a 30-year low, with PEP and KO recording a huge chunk of the decline.
Despite the two companies struggling to grow revenue, these three metrics say PepsiCo looks cheaper than Coca-Cola.
Price to Free Cash Flow
PepsiCo currently sports a trailing-twelve-month price to free cash flow (PFCF) of 19.93, while Coca-Cola sports PFCF of 28.21. For reference, another close competitor Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS) has a trailing PFCF of 23.32.
Usually, the lower the PFCF number, the cheaper the stock. PepsiCo’s free cash flow (FCF) has grown by roughly 67.87% over the past decade, while KO’s FCF has grown by 36.59%. KO looks more expensive with regard to FCF because its stock price has risen much faster than its free cash flow.
Price to Earnings Ratio
On a trailing-twelve-month basis, Coca-Cola’s price to earnings ratio (PE) stands at 25.06 versus PepsiCo’s 22.63. According to data provided by NYU Stern School of Business, the soft beverage industry’s trailing PE is 31.11.
In addition, PepsiCo’s Forward PE betters that of KO with each company sporting forward PEs of 20.00 and 20.98 respectively. The Industry’s forward PE is 52.36, according to NYU.
Return on Capital Invested
PepsiCo has also been more efficient at allotting its capital than Coca-Cola. As of its last quarter, PEP had a 14.24% return on invested capital (ROIC), while KO had 9.94%. In fairness, though, both of the beverage giants have seen their ROICs dip significantly over the last 10 years. Over that period, PEP and KO have seen their ROICs dip by 53.8% and 57.6% respectively. However, PEP is slowly improving again in this regard, having improved its ROIC by 11.6% over the last five years versus KO’s 29.9% decline.
However, it should be said that investors should conduct more in-depth research on these companies before making a decision. The comparison here can be taken as a starting point.