Can Solstad Farstad ASA (OB:SOFF) Improve Your Portfolio Returns?

If you are a shareholder in Solstad Farstad ASA’s (OB:SOFF), or are thinking about investing in the company, knowing how it contributes to the risk and reward profile of your portfolio is important. There are two types of risks that affect the market value of a listed company such as SOFF. The first risk to think about is company-specific, which can be diversified away by investing in other companies in order to lower your exposure to one particular stock. The second risk is market-wide, which arises from investing in the stock market. This risk reflects changes in economic and political factors that affects all stocks.

Not every stock is exposed to the same level of market risk. The most widely used metric to quantify a stock’s market risk is beta, and the market as a whole represents a beta of one. Any stock with a beta of greater than one is considered more volatile than the market, and those with a beta less than one is generally less volatile.

Check out our latest analysis for Solstad Farstad

What does SOFF’s beta value mean?

Solstad Farstad’s beta of 0.97 indicates that the stock value will be less variable compared to the whole stock market. This means the stock is more defensive against the ups and downs of a stock market, moving by less than the entire market index in times of change. Based on this beta value, SOFF appears to be a stock that an investor with a high-beta portfolio would look for to reduce risk exposure to the market.

OB:SOFF Income Statement Export August 2nd 18
OB:SOFF Income Statement Export August 2nd 18

How does SOFF’s size and industry impact its risk?

SOFF, with its market capitalisation of øre1.79b, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. In addition to size, SOFF also operates in the energy services industry, which has commonly demonstrated strong reactions to market-wide shocks. As a result, we should expect a high beta for the small-cap SOFF but a low beta for the energy services industry. It seems as though there is an inconsistency in risks portrayed by SOFF’s size and industry relative to its actual beta value. There may be a more fundamental driver which can explain this inconsistency, which we will examine below.

Is SOFF’s cost structure indicative of a high beta?

During times of economic downturn, low demand may cause companies to readjust production of their goods and services. It is more difficult for companies to lower their cost, if the majority of these costs are generated by fixed assets. Therefore, this is a type of risk which is associated with higher beta. I examine SOFF’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. Given a fixed to total assets ratio of over 30%, SOFF seems to be a company which invests a big chunk of its capital on assets that cannot be scaled down on short-notice. As a result, this aspect of SOFF indicates a higher beta than a similar size company with a lower portion of fixed assets on their balance sheet. However, this is the opposite to what SOFF’s actual beta value suggests, which is lower stock volatility relative to the market.

What this means for you:

You could benefit from lower risk during times of economic decline by holding onto SOFF. Take into account your portfolio sensitivity to the market before you invest in the stock, as well as where we are in the current economic cycle. Depending on the composition of your portfolio, SOFF may be a valuable stock to hold onto in order to cushion the impact of a downturn. What I have not mentioned in my article here are important company-specific fundamentals such as Solstad Farstad’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SOFF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SOFF’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has SOFF been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of SOFF’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.