These Refiners Are On Sale

Includes: DK, VLO
by: Bret Jensen

The environment is starting to get a little better for refiners as WTI is now below $100 a barrel and the sector is starting to get some upgrades from analysts. After a dismal six months fighting declining crack spreads and poor demand for gasoline, it might be time to nibble on this beaten down sector as it seems like it is on sale. Here are two attractive refinery stocks I like here.

Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK) consists of two refineries in Texas and Arkansas with a total capacity of 140,000 barrels a day. The company also owns 373 gas & convenience stores in seven states. Finally, its logistics division consists of ~1,000 miles of pipelines, five terminals and 1.7mm barrels of storage capacity.

The stock sells at ~$26 a share after bottoming around $20 recently. The company got some love from Goldman Sachs this morning who moved the shares to a "Buy" and slapped a $37 a share price stock on the shares. The mean analyst price target held by the nine analysts that cover the stock is ~$32.50 a share.

DK sells for less 5.5x its 2012's earnings per share. The company has a robust balance sheet with ~10% of its market capitalization represented by net cash on the books. The stock also sells for less than 5x its trailing twelve month operating cash flow.

Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) - The largest refinery company in North America has also garnered some positive comments from analysts recently. Howard Weil upgraded the shares from "Sector Perform" to "Outperform" last week. S&P has its highest rating "Strong Buy" and a $46 a share price target on the refiner.

The company is also benefiting from being able to export (about one in every four gallons refined) low cost refined products overseas due to the location of its refineries and low cost energy inputs triggered by the energy boom in North America. The stock is priced at less than 20% over book value.

Analysts have been too pessimistic on this refinery giant's earning prospects for quite some time. The company has easily beat bottom line expectations for six straight quarters. The average beat over consensus has averaged ~20% over the past four quarters. The shares are priced at less than 5x trailing operating cash flow and yield 2.3% as well.

The other major event that could significantly help the refinery sector in 2014 is the EPA relaxing their biofuel requirements as was recently rumored. Although I am naturally skeptical of any pro oil & gas measure coming from the current administration, this would be a huge positive for the sector overall if it was to come to pass.

Disclosure: I am long DK. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.