ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) is Pretty Cheap, But is it a Good Buy?

A company that had always been one of the frontrunners in many ways, is now relatively cheap to buy stock in. ExxonMobil (NYSE:ZOM) is hovering at one of its lowest prices since the late 1980s. That means the stock is nearing a 30-year low.

When you hear of a company that’s proven to be reliable is at one of their lowest points in decades, that would make you assume that the ExxonMobil isn’t doing so hot right now. However, you’ll soon find out that the opposite may actually be true.

Why so Cheap?

So, the million dollar question – why is ExxonMobil’s stock so cheap? We’re talking the price to tangible book value being around 30 percent lower than its 10-year average.

A few factors are contributing to the stock price drop. For starters, the company’s return on capital employed (ROCE) is quite low. ROCE is a measurement of how well a company handles shareholder money. That sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it?

For quite a while, ExxonMobil usually was one of the pack leaders for the oil industry when it came to ROCE. Once 2014 came around, and we entered a bear market for oil, ExxonMobil gave up its lead and fell back into the middle of the pack, and it’s stayed there ever since.

However, that’s slowly starting to change. The company laid out a rather aggressive growth plan to double their earnings and cash flow by 2025. That’s a pretty hefty goal. They did, though, land in an oil haven back in 2015 when they made their way into the coast of Guyana.

How do they expect to reach this goal? By putting in up to $30 billion a year to grow its upstream (drilling) and downstream (chemicals and refining) businesses. They also plan to put more attention on improving their ROCE score on top of increasing production.

That brings us to the second factor that’s dropped ExxonMobil’s stock – falling production levels. Well, if their quarterly earnings surpassing their expectations speaks to anything, they’re well on their way to improving their production levels.

The company earned $6.41 billion in their latest quarter (excluding any tax impacts which brings the earnings to $6 billion), which is a 72 percent increase from the same time last year. With more drilling initiatives to keep vamping up over the years, they expect their production levels to continue to grow (including their earnings).

To Buy, or Leave Behind

So, if the million dollar question was why ExxonMobil’s stock is at a low point, the billion dollar question is if you buy, or walk past the stock to something different. It’s hard to tell what will happen between 2019 and 2025, but things are looking pretty good for the oil giant.

ExxonMobil showed that it’s listened to investors’ concerns and are doing something about it. They’re taking the initiative to ramp up production and become, once again, a ROCE leader.

If you’re going to invest in the company, now’s the time to do it. If things go according to their plan, their stock won’t stay this cheap for much longer.

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