Buy H&P, not H-P: Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (HP), Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ)

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Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)Wait, what?  That’s right, HP is a fantastic investment as long as you don’t accidentally put your money into H-P.  I am talking about oil and gas drilling & exploration company Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (NYSE:HP) and computer systems giant Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the troubles plaguing Hewlett-Packard, but what does this have to do with a company in the drilling industry?  Well, nothing.  At least not if you know how to distinguish the two.

Helmerich & Payne is the fastest growing drilling company in the world by rig count, operating a fleet of 339 rigs mostly on U.S. soil.  While the U.S. total active rig count has been decreasing since 2010 especially in 2012 as the count decreased by 11%, ignoring 2005 Helmerich & Payne’s rigs actually have increased every year since 2001 while still maintaining above 90% efficiency.

Helmerich & Payne has one of the highest rig contracting efficiencies in the market (93% compared to industry average of 70%) while still charging well above average dayrates ($15,000 compared to industry average of $10,000).  They also possess the title of largest market share in the industry, controlling nearly 14% of the market.

In their most recent earnings call, Helmerich & Payne reported record EPS of $1.48, beating estimates by 9.4%.  Revenues were up 15% YoY, net income was at an all-time-high, 48 new rigs were built below budget, and CEO Hans Helmerich announced plans to increase the  dividend in 2013.  As 2013 expects to see total U.S. rig counts increase by at least 100, Helmerich & Payne management is confident that they will capture even more market share.  How does H&P do all this?  FlexRig®.

FlexRig® is a Helmerich & Payne-specific type of rig now in its fifth generation, boasting unmatched technology and innovation.  The FlexRig® utilizes AC technology instead of the typical DC technology in most rigs.  AC expands horsepower capabilities and lessens stall conditions in oil rigs, giving Helmerich & Payne an advantage over competitors in rig mobility.  A 40-mile move would take the average land rig 161 hours to traverse, while the FlexRig® can do the same in only 57 hours.  In addition to impressive mobility the FlexRig® uses horizontal drilling techniques instead of the typical vertical, which allow more oil to be pulled from each well and more efficiently.  These special rigs also contain spherical self-cleaning mud tanks, which perform at a higher level than the square mud tanks normally used throughout the industry.  Mud tanks are used in land-based drilling to store drilling fluid.  The name comes from the first mud tanks that were simply holes dug into the mud.

Helmerich & Payne’s share price is up more than 11% YTD, and boasts a 42% 5-year performance.  This compares to an average Oil & Gas Drilling industry return of 0.8% YTD and -2.06% 5-year.

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