Norway has been blessed with an abundance of crude oil lying under the bed of the North Sea, and the Norwegian government has done a very good job of maximizing the resulting profits through this state-controlled oil company. Statoil (STO) has parleyed its success at home into a steady global expansion, and now has interests in oil fields across the globe. That really paid off in 2011, when operating profits surged 30% to a record $35 billion.
Falling oil prices will likely keep a lid on sales and profit growth in the near-term, but as is the case with Siemens and GE noted above, Statoil is trading a discount to U.S. rival ExxonMobil (XOM). While ExxonMobil trades for 2.55 times book value and 0.9 times trailing sales, those metrics are just 1.58 and 0.65 for Statoil, respectively.Statoil also trades for just eight times projected profits while ExxonMobil's multiple is 10.We can't determine the future direction of oil prices, but we can note that one major industry player offers a better value than the other.
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