The Motley Fool

Is Now the Right Time to Buy Cenovus Energy Inc.?

Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE)(NYSE:CVE), one of largest integrated oil and gas companies in Canada, announced first-quarter earnings results before the market opened on April 29, and its stock responded by falling over 2% in the trading session that followed. Let’s take a thorough look at the results to determine if this weakness represents a long-term buying opportunity, or a warning sign.

A very weak first-quarter performance

Here’s a summary of Cenovus’ first-quarter earnings results compared with its results in the same period a year ago.

Metric Q1 2015 Q1 2014
Net Earnings Per Diluted Share ($0.86) $0.33
Revenue $3.14 billion $5.01 billion

Source: Cenovus Energy Inc.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2015 Cenovus reported a net loss of $668 million, or $0.86 per share, compared with a net profit of $247 million, or $0.33 per share, in the same quarter a year ago, as its revenue decreased 37.3% to $3.14 billion.

The company noted that these very weak results can be attributed to lower commodity prices, including the average realized price for its oil and hedging, which decreased 47% to $37.66 per barrel. The average realized price for its natural gas decreased 25.3% to $3.34 per thousand cubic feet compared with the year-ago period.

Here’s a quick breakdown of 12 other notable statistics from the report compared with the year-ago period:

  1. Revenue decreased 44% to $1.18 billion in its Upstream segment
  2. Revenue decreased 35.7% to $2.1 billion in its Refining & Marketing segment
  3. Total oil production increased 10.8% to 218,020 barrels per day
  4. Oil Sands production increased 19.9% to 144,372 barrels per day
  5. Conventional Oil production decreased 3.6% to 73,648 barrels per day
  6. Natural gas production decreased 2.9% to 462 million cubic feet per day
  7. Operating cash flow decreased 53% to $549 million
  8. Cash flow decreased 45.2% to $495 million
  9. Cash flow decreased 46.2% to $0.64 per share
  10. Reported an operating loss of $88 million, or $0.11 per share, compared with an operating profit of $378 million, or $0.50 per share, in the year-ago period
  11. Capital expenditures decreased 36.2% to $529 million
  12. Average number of diluted common shares outstanding increased 2.9% to 778.9 million

Cenovus also announced that it will be maintaining its dividend of $0.2662 in the second quarter, and it will be paid out on June 30 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 15.

Should you invest in Cenovus Energy today?

I think the post-earnings weakness in Cenovus’ stock is warranted, but I also think it represents an attractive long-term buying opportunity because I think commodity prices will rebound in the next 12 months and because it has a very high dividend yield.

First, I think oil will move back to about $75 per barrel, and this will lead to investors piling in to energy stocks like Cenovus.

Second, Cenovus pays a quarterly dividend of $0.2662 per share, or $1.0648 per share annually, giving its stock a very high 4.7% yield at current levels. The company has also increased its dividend for three consecutive years, and as long as commodity prices recover over the next 12 months, I think this streak could continue for the next several years.

With all of the information provided above in mind, I think Foolish investors should strongly consider beginning to scale in to long-term positions in Cenovus Energy today.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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