Metallic bone plates are orthopedic implants used for fracture fixation of long bones like the human femur. The fractures in these bones occur due to excessive forces during trauma. For the treatment of juxta-articular fractures (distal tibia, tibial plateau, distal femur, distal humerus, radius etc.), good plate contouring to the shape of the bone is very important for adequate stability. The objective of the present study is to compare the bending structural stiffness and bending strength of ZM21 Magnesium (Mg) alloy with 316L stainless steel using a four point bending test (ASTM F382-99(2003)) and also simulated using finite element analysis tool, Ansys. The study also aims to analyze the influence of number of holes in a ZM21 magnesium alloy bone plate on its flexural properties. The sample dimensions were of 135mm×14mm×5 mm with 6 holes and 10 holes respectively were used for the present study. It was observed from both experimental and simulation studies that as the number of holes increases from 6 to 10 the bending strength and stiffness significantly decreased. Furthermore, the values of bending strength, bending stiffness, proof load and deformation for ZM21 Mg alloy are close to that of 316L stainless steel, suggesting that the contouring requirements of ZM21 Mg alloy would be similar to that of stainless steel. Thus, ZM21 Mg alloy has favorable mechanical properties similar to that of stainless steel and was found to perform better in the stress shielding study, which could aid bone growth thereby the bone healing process. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.