Are KAZ Minerals PLC, UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC And 88 Energy Ltd Poised For Success?

Photo: KAZ Minerals. Fair Use.

So, you've got a company that's in a sector that's in a slump, and it's share price has fallen 87% in five years.

But then you notice its shares have actually more than doubled in a little over six months, to 176p today. And analysts have a turnaround on the cards, with a return to positive EPS forecast for this year followed by a massive rise next year that would take the P/E down to around 13.5. Does that sound like a tasty recovery candidate?

It's KAZ Minerals (LSE: KAZ) I'm talking about, and the omens are starting to look good. Copper is the company's business, and the five-year slump in the price of the stuff might just have started its reversal -- over the past three months it's climbed back to around the $5,000 per tonne mark. The big factor is China, and the bearish view of the country is starting to soften as monetary easing is looking more likely. But predictions aren't great, with some suggesting copper demand isn't going to change much over the next 12 months.

The timing might not be perfect, and KAZ Minerals shares might languish for a little while longer. But with a long-term view, I can't help thinking they're good value now.

Horse Hill

UK Oil & Gas(LSE: UKOG) has just upped its stake in the Horse Hill development in the Weald Basin near Gatwick, by buying out Angus Energy Holdings' remaining 7.8% stake in the two relevant licences. The transaction, costing £1.8m as a combination of £1m in cash and £0.8m in UK Oil & Gas shares, takes the company's share of the so-called Gatwick Gusher licenses from a whisker under 20% to 27.3% (and takes its interest in Horse Hill Developments Limited to 42%).

Taking on a bigger share of the risk at a time when huge amounts of cash are going to be needed to reach actual production could be seen as unnecessary, but that's offset by the partial funding of the deal with UK Oil & Gas shares -- if success leads to the big price rise that many are hoping, it could turn out to be a cheap deal. On top of that, the company isn't dependent on just this one project, having interests in a number of other assets which are already productive.

But the currently unknown development costs and inevitable future fundraising, which come with no idea of the final dilution to be faced by existing shareholders, means I'd still keep away.

A new hope?

88 Energy(LSE: 88E) shares leaped skyward in February when the company announced a major discovery at its Icewine#1 exploration well. And if you'd bought on 12 February, by 23 February you'd have enjoyed a gain of 138%. Since then the price has fallen back from a peak of nearly 3p to 2.1p, including an 8% rise on a volatile day so far today -- it's definitely not been an investment for the weak-hearted so far!

Is 88 Energy a good punt for those with a stronger constitution? There's little doubt that there's great potential in the firm's oil shale find, but the problem right now is that it's unquantifiable. 88 Energy has no profits on the cards any time soon and no forecasts, and the share price is currently driven only by news flow -- and I can see the cycle of news, price rise, no news, price fall, news... going on for a while longer. At this stage, that's just not my style of investment.

Whether you go for these three or not, investing for growth can be a profitable strategy if you don't take needless risks and you diversify your picks. That's why I recommend you get a copy of our latest free report, A Top Growth Share From The Motley Fool.

It's not a high-risk tiddler. In fact, it has a market cap of around £1.5bn, very little debt, and the Fool's top analysts think there could be handsome rewards for those who invest now.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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