Ensco Plc (NYSE: ESV) and Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, dividends, earnings, institutional ownership and profitability.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Ensco Plc and Nabors Industries, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ensco Plc 3 6 11 0 2.40
Nabors Industries 0 8 18 0 2.69

Ensco Plc presently has a consensus target price of $9.85, indicating a potential upside of 115.60%. Nabors Industries has a consensus target price of $13.32, indicating a potential upside of 91.90%. Given Ensco Plc’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Ensco Plc is more favorable than Nabors Industries.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

91.6% of Ensco Plc shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.6% of Nabors Industries shares are held by institutional investors. 0.6% of Ensco Plc shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 4.1% of Nabors Industries shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

Ensco Plc pays an annual dividend of $0.04 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.9%. Nabors Industries pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.5%. Ensco Plc pays out 23.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Nabors Industries pays out -9.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Nabors Industries has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years. Nabors Industries is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Profitability

This table compares Ensco Plc and Nabors Industries’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ensco Plc 2.68% 0.77% 0.45%
Nabors Industries -32.35% -13.31% -5.32%

Risk & Volatility

Ensco Plc has a beta of 1.65, suggesting that its share price is 65% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Nabors Industries has a beta of 1.57, suggesting that its share price is 57% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Ensco Plc and Nabors Industries’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ensco Plc $1.98 billion 0.70 $716.60 million $0.17 26.88
Nabors Industries $2.25 billion 0.88 $535.84 million ($2.55) -2.72

Ensco Plc has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Nabors Industries. Nabors Industries is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ensco Plc, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Nabors Industries beats Ensco Plc on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ensco Plc

Ensco plc is an offshore contract drilling company. The Company provides offshore contract drilling services to the international oil and gas industry. Its segments include Floaters, Jackups and Other. The Floaters segment includes its drillships and semisubmersible rigs, and provides contract drilling. Other consists of management services on rigs owned by third parties. The Floaters and the Jackups segments provide contract drilling. It owned and operated an offshore drilling rig fleet of 57 rigs, including two rigs under construction, with drilling operations around the world, as of December 31, 2016. As of December 31, 2016, its rig fleet included eight drill ships, 10 dynamically positioned semisubmersible rigs, three moored semisubmersible rigs and 38 jackup rigs. As of December 31, 2016, of its 59 rigs, 25 were located in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, 16 were located in North and South America (including Brazil) and 18 were located in Europe and the Mediterranean.

About Nabors Industries

Nabors Industries Ltd. owns and operates a land-based drilling rig fleet. The Company is a provider of offshore platform drilling rigs in the United States and multiple international markets. The Company conducts its Drilling & Rig Services business through four segments: U.S. Drilling, Canada Drilling, International Drilling and Rig Services. The Company provides wellbore placement services, drilling software and performance tools, drilling equipment and various technologies throughout the oil and gas markets. The Company’s Drilling & Rig Services business comprises land-based and offshore drilling rig operations and other rig services, consisting of equipment manufacturing, rig instrumentation and optimization software. The Company is a provider of directional drilling and measurement while drilling (MWD) systems and services. The Company also provides drilling technology and equipment, and well-site services.

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