When Cenovus Energy (NYSE: CVE ) and Encana (NYSE: ECA ) broke up in 2009, no one could have expected that the two Canadian companies' futures would diverge so wildly. Encana is currently getting pummeled by low natural gas prices, and Cenovus is now a company to watch, quickly growing into a Calgary powerhouse.
You know things are going well when your fourth-quarter earnings triple from the year before. Net profit came in at $266 million Canadian, blowing out last year's number of CA$78 million. Cash flow was also up from last year, and in line with analyst expectations. However, due to some one-time charges, operating earnings of CA$0.44 per share missed expectations by ten Canadian cents and the stock fell. (The Canadian dollar is currently equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar).
The overall story remains a positive one, however, and the company increased its dividend 10% to CA$0.22 per share to indicate just that. So far this year, Cenovus is already making deals that indicate a bright future lies ahead.
Time waits for no one
Cenovus' success in the fourth quarter can be partially attributed to high oil prices, but the rest is due to an 11% increase in production. The company means business, which is more than evident in its recent shipment to China.
Using Kinder Morgan's (NYSE: KMP ) Trans Mountain pipeline, Cenovus sent 250,000 barrels of oil to an unnamed Chinese customer. The Trans Mountain pipeline is overbooked for February and March, which explains why Cenovus has pledged support for Enbridge's (NYSE: ENB ) Northern Gateway pipeline. However, this shipment proves that Cenovus is not willing to sit around and wait five years for the project to come to fruition. It also establishes Cenovus as an early Canadian player in the Asian oil markets.
The rest of the Calgary crew
Energy companies from Canada are all the rage now that the world knows what "oil sands" are. For instance, Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU ) is up 23% so far this year, and Imperial Oil is up 9%. Cenovus lands in between its Calgary competitors with a 17% increase, but over the past 12 months is the only one to post gains. In fact, Suncor is rallying back from a 22% decline since February of last year.
Cenovus may have missed analyst expectations on earnings, but it certainly has not missed the boat. In fact, it's loaded that boat with oil and sailed it to China. Pardon the mixed transportation metaphors, but I'm officially on the bandwagon. Keep an eye on Cenovus Energy by adding it to My Watchlist.