While all investors are highly aware that things change in business, sometimes the rate of change can surprise even the most seasoned of investors. A good example of this is the fall in the price of oil during the last couple of years, with it now standing at an incredibly low $27 per barrel. Thats the lowest level since 2003 and, realistically, it could move even lower with Iran now expected to increase supply following the end of economic sanctions.
This would be bad news for Petrofac (LSE: PFC), with the energy support services company being hurt in recent years by a lower price for black gold. In fact, its shares have collapsed by 55% in the last three years, but with the companys performance as a business showing signs of strength, its shares have risen during the last year by 16%. That goes against the performance of most of its sector peers during the same time period and looking ahead, Petrofac could continue to post upbeat capital gains.
A key reason for this is an impressive set of first-half results which showed that revenue increased by 25% versus the same period of last year. Furthermore, Petrofac expects a heavy weighting of profit towards the second half of the year and with an order backlog in excess of $20.9bn at the halfway stage of the year, Petrofac seems to be performing exceptionally well in challenging market conditions. As such, its forward price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 7.8 indicates that it could become a highly successful turnaround play.
Also having the potential to turn its fortunes around is Anglo American (LSE: AAL). It has also endured difficult trading conditions, with the price of platinum in particular hurting its profitability. As such, Anglo American is forecast to record a decline in its net profit of 36% in 2016, which would be the fifth consecutive year of profit declines and mean that earnings are just 10% of their 2011 level.
With Anglo American trading on a P/E ratio of 7.6, its expected decline in profit appears to be priced in. And with it having a new strategy which includes a streamlining of its six main divisions into three, significant asset disposals, cost cutting and a suspension of dividends until at least next year, Anglo Americans long term performance could improve significantly. In the short run, further losses are very much on the cards, but for less risk averse long term investors, now could be the right time to buy.
One stock which is also set to deliver a turnaround in the long run is Rolls-Royce (LSE: RR). It has a new management team which is set to take action to reverse the companys earnings decline that is expected to see its bottom line drop by 43% in the current year. This puts Rolls-Royce on a forward P/E ratio of 18.8 and means that while its shares have already fallen by 29% in the last six months, further falls could be on the cards so as to bring its rating down into line with that of the wider index and its industrial peers.
Due to this, buying Rolls-Royce right now does not appear to be a sound move. Certainly, it has the capacity to become a great business once again, but buying at current prices is unlikely to lead to high profits for investors. Therefore, awaiting a keener share price seems to be the best move.
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