Shares in oil services and engineering company Wood Group (LSE: WG) were given a boost today with news that it will not alter its dividend policy despite continued turbulence in the oil and gas industry. In response, the companys shares have risen by over 8% even though todays results highlighted a major fall in profitability.
In fact, Wood Groups pre-tax profit from continuing operations slumped from $475m in 2014 to $139m in 2015, which is a fall of 71%. However, this decline was in-line with expectations and reflects the challenging conditions thatWood Group faced last year. Unfortunately for the companys investors, those conditions have continued into the first part of 2016 and, realistically, it would not be surprising for them to continue through the rest of the year.
Despite this, Wood Group increased dividends per share by over 10% and plans to raise them by the same amount in 2016. This puts it on a forward yield of 3.4% and with its shares having a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 14.4, they could continue the rise which has seen them increase in value by 13% in the last three months.
Also reporting in February have been Glencore (LSE: GLEN) and Genel (LSE: GENL). In the case of the former, its production update was rather mixed and included details of a fall in production across a number of its divisions. For example, own-sourced copper production fell by 3% to 1.5m tonnes, which reflected the suspension of processing operations at two locations. Similarly, nickel production and coal production fell, while zinc production rose by 4% versus 2014 levels.
Glencore also announced a $500m deal with Franco-Nevada Corp to sell precious metals output from a mine in Peru. This is clearly good news for the company and while pressure on commodity prices remains, its shares have risen by 45% since the turn of the year, as investor sentiment has dramatically improved. With Glencore trading on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.8, it could be of interest to less risk averse investors.
Meanwhile, Genels update regarding payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government was also positive, with two separate payments being received for its stake in the Taq Taq and Tawke fields. And with the companys shares up by 15% in the last month on the back of a rising oil and gas sector, the last few weeks have been hugely positive for Genels investors.
Looking ahead, Genel faces a number of major risks. Clearly, payments are highly encouraging, but there is still a large backlog of monies owed to the company from previous oil production. This increases its financial risk and with the geopolitical outlook being highly uncertain as well as the potential for an oil price fall, Genel seems to offer potential rewards, but with too much risk. As such, it may be prudent to invest elsewhere at the present time.
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