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Tracey Ryniec

Helix Energy Solutions Group

HLX

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There's plenty of value in the energy sector. Helix Energy Solutions Group (HLX - Snapshot Report) is trading at just 9.4x forward estimates even though the shares are near 52-week highs. This Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) is also a double threat, as, in addition to value, it is expected to see double digit earnings growth in 2012.

Helix has two business segments. It operates its own offshore oilfields while also offering contracting services to the energy industry.

Those services include Subsea Construction, Canyon Offshore and Well Ops, especially well intervention and containment of potential future subsea oil spills.

Helix has a wide selection of specialized work-class ROVs which are available worldwide.

Helix Crushed It In The First Quarter

On Apr 22, Helix reported its first quarter results and surprised on the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 66%. Earnings per share were 73 cents compared to the consensus of 44 cents. The company made just 24 cents in the year ago period.

Revenue rose 40% to $407.9 million from $291.6 million. Contracting Services was the hot segment, rising 85.9% to $244.5 million from $131.5 million. Production gained 5.4% to $178.1 million from $168.9 million.

The company benefited from high vessel utilization in the quarter. Subsea Construction vessel utilization rose to 94% in the quarter from 87% the previous quarter.

Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 Soars

Given the huge beat in the first quarter, it's not surprising that the analysts moved immediately to raise full year estimates.

Within the last week, 4 out of 4 estimates have moved higher. This has pushed the Zacks Consensus up to $2.14 from $1.75 in that time.

That is earnings growth of 24%.

Shares Still A Value

Despite shares trading near 2 year highs after the earnings report, Helix still has plenty of value.

Along with a P/E under 10, Helix has a price-to-book of 1.4. I use a P/B ratio under 3.0 as an indicator of value. Helix's P/B ratio is also under the average of the S&P 500, which is 2.6.

The energy sector is being overlooked by many investors which means there's a lot of value to be found. Helix is one of those that has both value and the possibility of big growth.

Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Insider Trader services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec.

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