WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) provides professional engineering and management services to the energy, resource and complex process industries.
It offers a broad range of services, from feasibility studies to design and project services, and is exposed to a number of sectors.
The group is a leader in its industry and has established long-term relationships with a number of blue-chip companies.
Despite facing obstacles in FY11, WOR was able to grow its profit and revenue, with the Hydrocarbons business driving the result.
Moreover, WorleyParsons is ideally placed for the future, as the lure of high energy prices is likely to drive demand for its services from the bigger oil companies.
Hyper about Hydrocarbons
The majority of WOR’s earnings are in the Hydrocarbons (oil and gas) division. WOR’s leverage to the energy market is a key attraction, particularly as demand for oil and gas is expected to strengthen due to emerging market growth.
The oil supply/demand imbalance (dwindling oil supplies vs. growing energy demand) is only expected to worsen due to this growth.
The lure of energy price appreciation is likely to encourage oil companies to ramp up capex spending, which puts WorleyParsons in an ideal position to accelerate its contract win rate.
WOR has had a positive start to 2012, winning two major contracts in January. The first was a US$115 million contract with ExxonMobil, and the second was a US$180 million contract with Chevron (split with a 50/50 JV partner).
LNG is the future
The big oil companies have recognised that the world is moving towards more unconventional sources of energy such as LNG.
There are a number of massive projects being undertaken throughout Australia, and WOR has had a hand in some of the key ones such as Pluto and Wheatstone.
WOR’s experience in developing LNG projects, coupled with the established relationships it has with its blue-chip clients, makes it ideally placed to benefit from this increased focus on alternative energy.
As the global growth engine continues to shift from developed economies to the developing regions, there will be increased demand for commodities.
As mining companies look to meet this demand, there is going to be a significant increase in capex activities over the coming years.
This will strengthen the market for WOR’s services, providing it with plenty of growth opportunities, especially in the hydrocarbons space.
WOR is in a sound financial position and is expected to continue the positive earnings momentum into FY12.
Based on one year forward earnings, WOR is trading at a more than 50% premium to the industry average.
Whilst this may appear to suggest the company is overvalued, we feel the premium is justified when considering WOR’s relatively stronger growth prospects, cash flow generation and a five-year average return on equity of over 20%.
The long-term relationships WorleyParsons has fostered with its blue-chip clients is likely to yield considerable benefits for the company, particularly as miners look to capitalise on rising commodity prices as well as the world’s shift to alternative energy sources.
We believe that WOR is poised for growth, and is defiantly a stock to watch for 2012.
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