Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) and Petrobras Argentina (NYSE:PZE) are both mid-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, risk, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Profitability

This table compares Ecopetrol and Petrobras Argentina’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ecopetrol 5.04% 3.60% 1.34%
Petrobras Argentina N/A N/A N/A

Dividends

Ecopetrol pays an annual dividend of $0.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.7%. Petrobras Argentina does not pay a dividend. Ecopetrol pays out 36.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

2.1% of Ecopetrol shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 3.4% of Petrobras Argentina shares are held by institutional investors. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Ecopetrol and Petrobras Argentina, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ecopetrol 0 3 2 0 2.40
Petrobras Argentina 0 0 0 0 N/A

Ecopetrol currently has a consensus target price of $10.33, indicating a potential upside of 8.32%. Given Ecopetrol’s higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Ecopetrol is more favorable than Petrobras Argentina.

Volatility & Risk

Ecopetrol has a beta of 1.04, meaning that its share price is 4% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Petrobras Argentina has a beta of 1.33, meaning that its share price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Ecopetrol and Petrobras Argentina’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ecopetrol $17.94 billion 1.09 $6.95 billion $0.44 21.68
Petrobras Argentina $1.61 billion 1.64 $333.39 million N/A N/A

Ecopetrol has higher revenue and earnings than Petrobras Argentina.

Summary

Ecopetrol beats Petrobras Argentina on 8 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ecopetrol

Ecopetrol S.A. is an oil company. The Company operates in Colombia, Peru, Brazil and the United States Gulf Coast. The Company’s segments include Exploration and Production, Transportation and Logistics, and Refining, Petrochemicals and Biofuels. The Company’s Exploration and Production segment includes exploration, development and production activities in Colombia and abroad. The Company’s Transportation and Logistics segment includes the transportation of crude oil, motor fuels, fuel oil and other refined products, including diesel and biofuels. The Company’s main crude oil pipeline systems’ operating capacity is approximately 1.34 million barrels per day (BPD). The Company’s main refineries are the Barrancabermeja refinery, which it directly owns and operates, and a refinery in the Free Trade Zone in Cartagena that is operated by Reficar S.A., a subsidiary of the Company. The Company also owns and operates two other minor refineries: Orito and Apiay.

About Petrobras Argentina

Petrobras Argentina SA, formerly Petrobras Energia SA, is an Argentina-based company primarily engaged in the petroleum refining sector. The Company’s activities are structured in four business segments: Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, including the acquisition, exploration, exploitation and maintenance of oil and gas reserves; Refining and Distribution, processing and marketing of petroleum products; Petrochemicals, comprising the production of styrene, polystyrene, bi-oriented polystyrene (BOPS) and synthetic rubber; as well as Gas and Energy, providing gas distribution, as well as fossil fuel and hydroelectric power energy generation. Its petroleum products include lubricants, diesel fuel, compressed natural gas (CNG) and asphalts, among others. The Company has operations established in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico and Spain, among others. The Company is owned by Petrobras Participaciones SL. It operates throught Albares Renovables Argentina SA.

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