Collective management. The start of 2020 was marked by a sharp drop in oil prices, mainly due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. Travel restrictions in many countries have indeed made “ to melt global demand for black gold “, specifies Malik Haddouk, director of diversified management at CPR Asset Management. Thus, the barrel of black gold listed in New York, which was still trading at more than 60 dollars in December 2019, saw its value almost halve, dragging all the values of the oil sector in its fall. listed on the stock exchange.
However, the underperformance of these stocks is far from having been uniform. As Christophe de Failly, manager of the Etoile Energie Europe fund, at Etoile Gestion, an Amundi subsidiary, points out, ” investors have sanctioned to a lesser extent companies specializing in the field of refining, distribution of petroleum products or energy infrastructure such as pipelines and storage activities, because they have a lower sensitivity of their turnover to the volatility of the price of black gold “.
Among them, we can cite European companies such as Rubis, Royal Vopak NV or even Enagás and Technigaz. Best of all, these companies continue to deliver strong returns to their shareholders despite the current market environment marked by widespread falling dividends, according to a recent study published by management firm Janus Henderson.
For their part, the giants of the sector, such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron or BP saw their profits fall sharply in the wake of the fall in oil prices. To reduce their dependence on oil, some of them, notably the European majors, do not hesitate to accelerate the diversification of their activities in the renewable energy sector, such as wind and solar.
Thus, for example, Christophe de Failly indicates that ” the share of these green energies should represent 25% of Total’s turnover by 2040 against less than 5% at present “. A change of course likely to attract more investors who are now increasingly aligning their investment strategy with sustainable development objectives.
The green energy sector
Moreover, companies positioned in the green energy sector, such as the Danish Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy), but also the French companies Voltalia and Neoen, have recorded spectacular performances since the end of 2019 despite a particularly gloomy stock market environment. Moreover, it is the positioning of part of its portfolio on carbon-free energy producers that has enabled the Etoile Energie Europe fund to stand out from its peers in terms of performance in recent years.
The petroleum energy sector therefore still retains some advantages for investors who wish to diversify their investments. On the condition, however, of selecting companies in the sector with little exposure to hydrocarbon production alone or capable of seizing the opportunities offered by the growing green energy segment.
We must also exclude ” companies with the most controversial behavior in terms of ESG criteria [environnementaux, sociaux et de gouvernance] », Insists Anastasia Naymushina, manager at NN Investment Partners. Finally, rather than investing directly in the shares of these companies, it is advisable for savers who do not have time to manage a portfolio and wish to position themselves in this type of securities to turn to collective management products, in particular through specialized funds. Nearly twenty are currently available for French retail investors.