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Why You Should Buy ConocoPhillips (COP)

Energy is a sector that everyone’s portfolio should have some exposure to. Energy powers everything in our society, with oil being the dominant resource. Over the long term, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is one of my favorite companies–let’s take a closer look at the company and see why.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

As you can see in the graph above, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) has been on a nice run this year. Here are some quick facts about its current price levels:

P/E: 10.69

P/CF: 5.7X

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

52w High: $66.17

52w Low: $52.84

    You can see that ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is up against its high for the year. Is there more room for this stock to run? Here is why I am bullish on ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) over the next 5 years.

    Management that keeps delivering

    ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)Management has made promises to its shareholders over the last couple of years, and they have delivered on those promises. In May of 2012, management spun off its downstream operations into what is now Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX). Management promised that this would unlock significant value for ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) shareholders. With shares of PSX currently priced at almost double the spin off price, I would say management delivered on that promise.

    Excelling at E&P

    With ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) now strictly an exploration and production company, it is crucial that Conoco keeps finding ways to expand its reserves. Earlier this year, ConocoPhillips announced two significant discoveries in the deep water Gulf of Mexico region. The numbers have not officially come in yet as to the amount of oil expected to be produced, but it is expected to have a significant impact on its overall production numbers.

    No drama needed

    ConocoPhillips is currently in the middle of a large scale restructuring of assets. It has been selling its working interests in low margin, politically volatile areas. ConocoPhilliops has then been turning around, and investing in higher margin, politically stable areas, and has also been building a larger presence near American lands. This strategy is expected by management to boost production volume, and margins by 3%-5% annually over the next 3-5 years.

    Juicy dividend with growth to boot

    ConocoPhillips currently offers one of the more generous dividends in the sector. With a current yield of 4.20%, you are being well paid to hold on to ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips has recently announced a dividend increase of 4.5%. The dividend has a 5 year growth rate of 10% annually.

    This company is healthy

    ConocoPhillips has a healthy balance sheet. Its dividend payout ratio is only 44.3% and a debt to equity ratio of 0.4. Also, its net profit margin of 12.09% is well above its peers (5.93%). Once the restructuring is complete, ConocoPhillips will be in a good position to further improve its balance sheet, and reward its shareholders.

    The competition

    ConocoPhillips competes with a handful of other oil majors in the sector. Do any of the others make a better investment?

    Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) is a fully integrated oil major. It is a larger company than ConocoPhillips, but that doesn’t mean its a better investment at the moment. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) has a better looking debt to equity ratio at a robust 0.1. Its dividend payout ratio is also smaller at 27.1%.

    However, ConocoPhillips has a higher net profit margin, as well as a lower price to cash flow ratio. Its dividend yield is also higher (4.20%, compared to Chevron’s 3.15%).

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