With the oil price creeping back up to around $50 per barrel, it may seem as though the oil crisis is over. After all, it has risen by over 75% since its $28 per barrel low earlier this year. However, the fundamental supply/demand imbalance that has caused a low oil price remains in force and looks set to continue over the medium term. As such, the sector is likely to remain volatile over the coming months.
Of course, it would be easy given the performance of the oil price for companies operating within the sector to think short term. In other words, to focus on survival rather than long-term growth. However, Premier Oil (LSE: PMO) appears to be putting itself in a position where it can record stronger growth and emerge from the current crisis in a better position relative to its peers through the acquisition of Eon’s North Sea assets as well as a strategy where it,s seeking to become increasingly efficient.
Although Premier Oil is forecast to record a pre-tax loss of £125m combined over the next two years, it seems to be in a good position to record much better performance in the medium term. Therefore, for less risk-averse investors, now could be a buying opportunity.
Share price rises ahead?
Similarly, Benchmark Holdings (LSE: BMK) could prove to be an excellent turnaround play. Although the food and farming development specialist has been in the red for each of the last two years, it’s expected to move into profit in the current year. This has the potential to cause a step-change in investor sentiment, with Benchmark Holdings’ share price having the scope to rise following its 40% decline since the turn of the year.
Looking ahead to next year, Benchmark Holdings is forecast to more than double its pre-tax profit. And with it trading on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of only 0.2, there seems to be significant scope for an upward rerating.
Meanwhile, Epwin’s (LSE: EPWN) share price continues to disappoint. The supplier of low-maintenance, sustainable and energy-efficient products to the new build and social housing sectors has recorded a share price fall of 9% in the last year. However, this could change moving forward, since Epwin is expected to report an improved financial performance in the current year.
In fact, Epwin’s bottom line is due to rise by 21% this year, followed by further growth of 5% next year. When this is combined with its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 8.8, it indicates that there’s major upward rerating potential. And with Epwin yielding 5.4% from a dividend that’s covered 2.1 times by profit, it continues to offer clear income appeal for long-term investors.