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posted on 24 March 2016

A Tough Year For Giants

by Robert Rapier, Investing Daily

Investing Daily Article of the Week

Most energy companies have now filed annual reports for 2015. These are important because certain key performance indicators are only updated in the annual report. For example, oil and gas producers are required to provide updates on proved reserves. Proved reserves are an important consideration in valuing an oil and gas company, especially after another year of depressed energy prices.

Leading up to the release of annual reports, I have been refining a stock screener I originally developed a year ago. This tool retrieves and analyzes real-time financial market data from the S&P Capital IQ database. This database is far more comprehensive than you will find at Yahoo Finance, Google Finance or any other free site I've seen. The screen is tailored to the financial metrics important to the oil and gas industry.

The database includes publicly traded companies across the energy sector, and from stock exchanges all over the world. The most recent screen I ran pulled in 2,367 publicly traded energy companies. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to highlight the world's largest energy companies according to Enterprise Value (EV).

If you are unfamiliar with the EV, it's considered a more comprehensive measure of a company's capital structure than market capitalization. The EV is calculated as the market capitalization plus debt, minority interest and preferred shares, minus total cash and cash equivalents. The biggest difference between the market capitalization and the EV is usually debt. The inclusion of debt provides a more accurate estimate of the cost of acquiring the company.

With that said, here are the top 10 global energy companies sorted in descending order by enterprise value:

160315TELoiltop10

  • EV - Enterprise Value in billions of U.S. dollars as of March 14

  • FCF - Levered free cash flow for the trailing twelve months (TTM)

  • Change - Change in EV over the past year

  • 1 Yr Ret - Total shareholder return (TSR), including dividends, for the past 12 months

  • SEHK - Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited

  • ENXTAM - Euronext Amsterdam

  • ENXTPA - Euronext Paris

  • LSE - London Stock Exchange

  • MISX - Moscow Exchange

Unsurprisingly, the list is dominated by integrated oil and gas companies. These giants are engaged in all phases of the oil and gas supply chain - from production through transportation to refining, marketing, and distribution.

Texas-based ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) is by far the largest member of the group (and is also the fourth-largest publicly traded company in the world across all industries.) Of the Western world's six "supermajors," only Italy's Eni (NYSE: E) failed to crack the top 10. (It was #11.)

Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) is the world's largest oilfield services company, but the only representative from that sector to make the top 10. You have to drop all the way down to Halliburton at #32 to find the next largest oilfield services company.

Midstream company Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) did make the top 10 list, which may surprise some. After all, the master limited partnership Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) has a market capitalization that is $7 billion larger than KMI's. But KMI has about $20 billion more debt.

No refining ("downstream") or pure exploration and production companies ("upstream") made the top 10. The highest-ranking company classified as a refiner is India's Reliance Industries (NSEI: RELIANCE) at #16. Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) is the highest-ranked U.S. refiner at #22, while ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) at #13 is the largest E&P company.

This list highlights the challenges the industry faced in 2015, with only 4 of the top 10 generating positive free cash flow last year, and only two with a positive total return over the past 12 months. But sentiment shows signs of shifting in 2016. While challenges in the energy sector will likely persist for at least several more months, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has quietly recovered by nearly 50% since the lows of February. As a result, the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSE:XLE) - whose major constituents are the world's large energy companies - has bounced back into positive territory for 2016 for the first time since the first week of January.

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