As oil prices at last hit the $50-a-barrel threshold, money is pouring back into the stocks of exploration and production giants, drilling companies and master limited partnerships. But oil prices could easily fall again, leaving investors holding the bag.
We've found a more diversified way to profit from rising oil prices, with less exposure to energy patch volatility. And yet, you've probably never heard of the company. Bristow Group (BRS) is the largest publicly traded offshore energy platform transportation company in the world.
Using a global fleet of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, the Houston-based operator flies workers and equipment to and from rigs that are hundreds of miles out to sea. It's a dangerous job performed in rough environmental conditions, but Bristow is one of the few companies with the expertise and safety track record to garner loyal clients such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and BP.
After a difficult two years, Bristow is poised to come roaring back. During the lean years when oil prices were at historic lows, the company cut costs, streamlined operations, mothballed redundant aircraft and diversified into search and rescue, air medical, flight training and other nonenergy operations. It was a far-sighted strategic pivot. Now, as oil prices rise, beaten-down Bristow should enjoy a rebound of exponential proportions.
Analysts expect Bristow to grow adjusted earnings an average of 13% a year over the next five years, vs. just 0.2% for its industry. With a market cap of only $474.3 million, Bristow is small enough to offer outsized capital appreciation but large enough to withstand the cyclical shocks of the energy sector that have driven many of its direct competitors such as CHC Group into bankruptcy.
Aviation activity in the offshore support sector is directly proportional to the capital and exploration outlays of the oil industry. No surprise, then, that the downturn in offshore transport since 2014 corresponds to falling oil prices, just as the industry's 2003-2008 growth surge occurred in tandem with rising oil prices.
Now the good news: For those who listen to some of the most influential experts out there, oil at $50 or even $60 a barrel is small potatoes. Try $100 a barrel or higher. Notably, Royal Dutch Shell President John Hofmeister recently predicted oil would reach $100 a barrel as soon as next year.
Evidence supports this optimism. Over the past three months, oil prices seem to have found a floor and now hover at $50 a barrel, the magic number widely considered to be the break-even point for energy and exploration firms.
It all means that offshore transport is about to benefit from a tremendously favorable catalyst. Bristow already is reporting an uptick in contracts and demand. Bristow CEO Jonathan Baliff recently told analysts that Bristow is "kind of seeing the bottom" of the market, surely an encouraging assessment.
OPEC this week plans to nail down the details of its recent production cut deal with members, another sign that oil prices are embarked on a sustainable upward trajectory. Even if oil starts dropping again, however, Bristow's diversification should hold it in good stead.
Bristow shares have fallen since the beginning of the year, but there's room for capital appreciation. Shares are now trading at about $14.14, but on average, analysts expect the stock to hit $16.50 in the next 12 months. That suggests it can gain 17% in the next year. With a current dividend yield of 2.0%, this widely ignored aviation stock should generate a solid total return from the energy patch's resurrection.
As oil prices recover from their historic lows, Bristow Group is a smart but little-noticed play now. If you're looking for other exciting but hidden growth opportunities, we've found a genius trader who turned $50,000 into $5 million by using his proprietary trading method. For a limited time, he's guaranteeing you $67,548 per year in profitable trades if you follow his simple step-by-step process. Click here now for details.