Here is my research I did when i was look at ocean drillers to determine which one was the best.
Ensco: trades at 8.4 times 2014 EPS - Cheapest Valuation
SeaDrill: trades at 12.3 times 2014 EPS
DiamondOffshore: trades at 11 times 2014 EPS
Transocean: trades at 9.2 times 2014 EPS
Dividned and Safety:
Ensco: Dividend Cover Ratio- 2.4, Yeild 4.8% and Debt to EBITDA - 2.1
SeaDrill: Dividned Cover Ratio- 1, Yeild 7.9% and Debt to EBITDA - 4.92
DiamondOffshore: Dividend Cover Ration- 10.9, Yeild .8% and Debt to EBITDA - 1.2
Transocean: Dividend Cover Ratio- 2.5, Yeild 4.6% and Debt to EBITDA - 3.79
As you can see ESV has the lowest valuation and the second best ability to cover its dividend, Sea Drill has the highest yeild but the lowest ability to cover it and has the highest valuation. Diamond Offshore has the best ability to pay its dividend but the lowest yeild. It is also priced in the middle of the valuation range. Transocean has the second lowest valuation but a compareable yeild and ability to cover its dividend. When comparing RIG with ESV the biggest factors were: fleet age which ensco has the younger fleet age, fleet demographics which transocean has more floaters which are in the highest demand right now, earnings predictability which ensco seems to have the best with a far smaller portion of its fleet coming due in 2014 for renewal. At a time when dayrates may be topping out, i felt Ensco was the better deal. Last item was that Ensco has far lower debt to continue to take advantage of any changes in the drilling enviroment.
Ensco is and has been the better company for years. But SDRL's stock has massively outperformed ESV's. Its dividend is the main thing holding SDRL aloft. I'm interested in ESV's recent dividend increase -- it's one of my reasons to hold after Raburn leaves. If hefty increases in dividends become a pattern, ESV could skyrocket. Divi trend is one of the main factors to watch in 2014, imo.