SAExploration Holdings (NASDAQ: SAEX) and Key Energy Services (NYSE:KEG) are both small-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, earnings, dividends, valuation, institutional ownership, profitability and risk.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

50.2% of Key Energy Services shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.6% of SAExploration Holdings shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 4.0% of Key Energy Services shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


This table compares SAExploration Holdings and Key Energy Services’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SAExploration Holdings -32.00% -114.73% -25.10%
Key Energy Services N/A N/A N/A

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares SAExploration Holdings and Key Energy Services’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SAExploration Holdings $158.09 million 0.16 $13.55 million ($6.17) -0.43
Key Energy Services $420.39 million 0.62 -$47.27 million N/A N/A

SAExploration Holdings has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Key Energy Services.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings for SAExploration Holdings and Key Energy Services, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SAExploration Holdings 0 0 0 0 N/A
Key Energy Services 0 5 2 0 2.29

Key Energy Services has a consensus price target of $17.40, indicating a potential upside of 34.99%. Given Key Energy Services’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Key Energy Services is more favorable than SAExploration Holdings.


Key Energy Services beats SAExploration Holdings on 9 of the 10 factors compared between the two stocks.

SAExploration Holdings Company Profile

SAExploration Holdings, Inc., an oilfield services company, provides seismic data acquisition and logistical support services to the oil and natural gas industry in North and South America, the Southeast Asia, and West Africa. Its seismic data acquisition services include program design, planning and permitting, camp services, survey, drilling, recording, reclamation, and in-field processing. The company acquires 2D, 3D, time-lapse 4D, and multi-component seismic data on land, in transition zones between land and water, and in offshore in depths reaching 3,000 meters. It operates crews that utilize approximately 27,500 owned land and marine seismic data acquisition equipment and other leased equipment. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Key Energy Services Company Profile

Key Energy Services, Inc. is an onshore, rig-based well servicing contractor. The Company provides a range of well services to oil companies, foreign national oil companies, and independent oil and natural gas production companies. The Company operates in five segments: U.S. Rig Services, Fluid Management Services, Coiled Tubing Services, Fishing and Rental Services, and International. Its U.S. Rig Services, Fluid Management Services, Coiled Tubing Services, Fishing and Rental Services operate geographically within the United States. The International segment includes its operations in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Russia, Bahrain and Oman. The Company’s services include rig-based and coiled tubing-based well maintenance and workover services, well completion and recompletion services, fluid management services, fishing and rental services, and other ancillary oilfield services. Additionally, certain of its rigs provide specialty drilling applications.

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