Helix Energy Solutions Group (NYSE: HLX) and Exterran Corporation (NYSE:EXTN) are both small-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, valuation, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, dividends and institutional ownership.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

88.9% of Helix Energy Solutions Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 89.7% of Exterran Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 5.7% of Helix Energy Solutions Group shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.2% of Exterran Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Helix Energy Solutions Group and Exterran Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Helix Energy Solutions Group -12.09% -1.21% -0.71%
Exterran Corporation -1.45% -5.57% -2.24%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Helix Energy Solutions Group and Exterran Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Helix Energy Solutions Group $544.13 million 1.75 $107.34 million ($0.51) -12.65
Exterran Corporation $1.07 billion 0.90 $161.23 million ($0.48) -55.96

Exterran Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Helix Energy Solutions Group. Exterran Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Helix Energy Solutions Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Helix Energy Solutions Group has a beta of 2.59, indicating that its share price is 159% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Exterran Corporation has a beta of 1.35, indicating that its share price is 35% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Helix Energy Solutions Group and Exterran Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Helix Energy Solutions Group 0 1 6 0 2.86
Exterran Corporation 0 2 0 0 2.00

Helix Energy Solutions Group presently has a consensus target price of $10.50, indicating a potential upside of 62.79%. Exterran Corporation has a consensus target price of $28.00, indicating a potential upside of 4.24%. Given Helix Energy Solutions Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Helix Energy Solutions Group is more favorable than Exterran Corporation.

Summary

Helix Energy Solutions Group beats Exterran Corporation on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Helix Energy Solutions Group

Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. is an international offshore energy services company. The Company provides services to the offshore energy industry, with a focus on well intervention and robotics operations. The Company operates in three segments: Well Intervention, Robotics and Production Facilities. Its Well Intervention segment includes the Company’s vessels and equipment used to perform well intervention services primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and North Sea regions. Its Robotics segment includes remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), trenchers and ROVDrills designed to complement offshore construction and well intervention services, and operates chartered ROV support vessels. Its Production Facilities segment includes the Helix Producer I (the HP I), a floating production vessel, the Helix Fast Response System (the HFRS), and its ownership interest in Independence Hub, LLC (Independence Hub).

About Exterran Corporation

Exterran Corporation provides compression, production and processing products and services that support the production and transportation of oil and natural gas around the world. The Company operates through three segments: contract operations, aftermarket services, and oil and gas product sales. The contract operations segment provides natural gas compression services, production and processing equipment services, and maintenance services to meet specific customer requirements on assets owned by it. The aftermarket services segment provides a range of services to support the surface production, compression and processing needs of customers, from parts sales and normal maintenance services to full operation of a customer’s owned assets. The oil and gas product sales segment provides design, engineering, manufacturing, installation and sale of natural gas compression units, and accessories and equipment used in the production, treating and processing of crude oil and natural gas.

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