Low oil prices have taken a huge toll on mining companies such as BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report , but one analyst said the company has fared better than rivals Glencore (GLCNF) and Anglo American (AAL) - Get Report .
"Apart from the likes of BHP and Rio Tinto (RIO) - Get Report , we don't think it's worth holding onto some of the other companies, such as Glencore and Anglo American because those companies didn't manage their debts too well," said Helal Miah, an investment research analyst at The Share Centre, based in the UK. "They were overly indebted, whereas BHP and Rio seem to be better positioned and didn't take out excessive amounts of debt."
Miah said he's relatively comfortable holding onto BHP, though it will take time for the company to recover. Oil prices have lost some 46% over the past 12 months. Shares of BHP fell 53.3% over the past year. The company posted a loss of $5.67 billion for the last half of 2015 and cut its dividend by 75%.
"BHP has a fairly large exposure to the oil industry, especially in the U.S. shale production area and since mid-2014, oil prices have taken an even faster tumble," Miah said. "This is why we've seen their revenues and profitability take a huge hit."
Miah noted that oil prices, which are currently trading near $32 a barrel, may need to rise to $50-$65 a barrel for most of the shale producers to be profitable. "We have seen BHP cut back in the last year or so in terms of the number of rigs that they manage," he said.
Miah said his preferred stock happens to be Rio Tinto. "In terms of iron ore, they have one of the lowest costs of production and they seem to be better managed and have a better balance sheet," he added. Shares of Rio Tinto have lost 42% of their value over the last year.