Keppel Corporation: 5 Important Things You Need to Consider Before You Invest

Keppel Corporation (SGX: BN4) is one of the largest conglomerates in Singapore and one of the world’s largest builders of offshore oil rigs. In normal times, the latter point would be a cause for admiration, but with oil prices plunging over 70% from its 2014 peak, companies in the oil & gas industry are facing challenging times – and Keppel is no different.

Keppel Chart 2013-2015

Chart: Financial Times

Keppel’s share price has fallen from a high of $11 in July 2014 to $5.21 (as at 22 Feb 2016) – a 53% drop.

When share prices fall so drastically, it’s easy to panic and cut your losses for fear of prices falling even further. On the other hand, a crash in price also brings a massive opportunity to pick up shares of a blue-chip company like Keppel at bargain-basement prices. But before you can do that, you need study a company’s fundamentals to find out if it can ride through the storm and emerge relatively unscathed.

In that regard, I wanted to have a look at Keppel and dig out some facts about the company in the midst of this oil crisis. So here are five important things you need to know about Keppel Corporation before you invest:

#1 Sete Brasil

Brazilian energy company, Sete Brasil, is Keppel’s largest client for deep-water rigs. Keppel has orders for six semi-submersible rigs worth $6.2 billion. Unfortunately, the oil crisis has caused Sete Brasil to file for possible bankruptcy protection.

Till date, Keppel has so far received $1.3 billion in payment from Sete Brasil. Keppel has stopped construction of Sete Brasil’s projects and have made a provision of $230 million for 4Q2015. It remains unclear what will become of Sete Brasil at this point.

#2 Revenue Contributors

Keppel Revenue Segments

Source: Keppel Corporation

As at 4Q2015, Keppel’s offshore & marine segment contributes 53% of total revenue. However, Keppel is a large conglomerate and its other revenue contributors are property (27%), infrastructure (19%) and investment (1%). This shows that Keppel does not rely exclusively on the oil & gas sector and would not be as hard hit as other pure oil & gas companies.

#3 Net DebtKeppel Net Debt

The company’s cash levels decreased from $6107.5 million to $2117.9 million mainly due to the acquisitions of Keppel Land stock, a £91 million London property, and 30% interest in Keppel Bay Tower. The drop in cash caused Keppel’s net debt ratio to increase from 0.11 in 2014 to 0.53 in 2015.

Cash is a hugely important resource to have for a company to stay afloat during economic troubling times. I would look out if Keppel’s cash level falls too low and its net debt ratio rises too high.

#4 Consistent Dividends

Keppel DPS

Despite all the economic challenges, Keppel was still able to pay a dividend per share of 34 cents in dividend. In fact, Keppel has been rather consistent in its dividend since 2006.

From the chart, you can see Keppel’s dividend per share has increased from 28 cents in 2006 to 48 cents in 2014 – a 71% growth. Moving forward, it’s important to see if Keppel is able to sustain their dividend payment.

#5 Price has Fallen Below NAV

Keppel Price NAV

I plotted the chart of Keppel’s share price versus its net asset value (NAV). As you can see, Keppel’s share price has almost always been trading at a premium to its NAV. The only time it fell below was in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis. Right now, in the midst of the oil plunge, Keppel’s share price is once again below its NAV.

The next question you might want to ask yourself is: Is the oil situation a temporary or permanent issue? The answer to that will decide how you view Keppel Corp as an investment moving forward.

Victor Chng

Victor Chng is an equity investor and co-founder of The Fifth Person. Victor has also appeared on national radio on Money FM 89.3 for his views and opinions on how to invest successfully in the stock market, and his investment articles have been published on The Business Times and Business Insider. Victor represented Singapore in the 2008 TAFISA World Games in Busan, South Korea and was the 2008 IFMA World Muay Thai Championships bronze medalist, kicking some serious ass along the way.


    1. Hi SMK,

      Oil & gas is Keppel’s main revenue contributor and a drop in revenue is expected with the current oil situation.

      As for whether Keppels’ NAV will fall further, it depends on whether Keppel will suffer any impairment losses in the near future which is hard to predict at the moment.

  1. Interesting facts and figure for Keppel.
    I Believe oil will stay low for long time cos of very strong treat from Solar;wind turbine and shale in the US.
    Do you agree or disagree and your reasons.
    thank you

  2. Great insights! In your personal view, is it safe to invest money in this kind of corporation since oil is a non-renewable product? And we all know that oil will be no longer available in the Earth. We will have to wait for a hundred or maybe thousands of years for this natural resources to be back. Looking for more information! Thank you!

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