Why Growth Is Expected To Take Off At GlaxoSmithKline plc, Barclays PLC, Associated British Foods plc & Workspace Group PLC ORD GBP1

Royston Wild details the terrific growth potential of GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON: GSK), Barclays PLC (LON: BARC), WORKSPACE GROUP PLC ORD GBP1 (LON: WKP) and Associated British Foods plc (LON: ABF).

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Today I am looking at four FTSE winners expected to deliver explosive earnings expansion.

GlaxoSmithKline

Thanks to the effect of enduring patent losses across key labels, GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) is not expected to see the bottom line light up any time soon. The business has seen earnings duck during four of the past five years, and another hefty decline in 2015 — this time by a colossal 20% — is currently slated. Still, I am convinced the firm represents a decent long-term play as healthcare demand across the globe surges higher.

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GlaxomithKline is undergoing vast restructuring to boost its financial firepower in growth areas like HIV, vaccines, cardiovascular, immuno-inflammation and respiratory, and currently has more than three-dozen products in mid-to-late-stage development. With the next generation of earnings drivers also starting to hit the shelves, the Brentford firm is expected to see earnings tick 12% higher in 2016, driving a P/E ratio of 17.4 times for this year to a very attractive 15.8 times.

Barclays

Supported by a steady improvement in the British economy, I reckon revenues should continue to ignite at Barclays (LSE: BARC). Although the firm faces a period of uncertainty as it searches for a successor to former chief executive Antony Jenkins, there are many reasons to be bullish over the firm — for one, the bank’s rolling Transform programme is taking the hatchet to Barclays’ cost base, as well as boosting its position in the red-hot e-banking arena.

And for long-term investors, I believe that Barclays’ growing exposure to Africa — the business currently operates across 15 countries on the continent — should deliver brilliant gains as it benefits from low banking product penetration and growing wealth levels in these regions. Consequently the financial giant is expected to see earnings leap 36% and 21% in 2015 and 2016 correspondingly, resulting in ultra-low P/E readings of 11 times and 8.9 times.

Workspace Group

With demand for rental space picking up from SMEs up and down the land, I expect earnings at Workspace Group (LSE: WKP) to keep ticking higher. The London firm saw like-for-like rents accelerate 6.1% during April-June from the prior three months, and 17.8% from the corresponding period in 2014. And an occupancy rate of 90.7% in the quarter came in above Workspace’s 90% target.

The number crunchers expect Workspace to enjoy a smashing 19% earnings rise in the 12 months to March 2016, resulting in a conventionally-heady P/E multiple of 45.9 times. But this reading drops to a more palatable 39.9 times for the following period thanks to predictions of a further 14% bottom-line advance. And with the company bumping up its property portfolio — Workspace bought a further two properties in the first quarter — I believe Workspace is in great shape to deliver steady earnings expansion, helping to mitigate these heady readings.

Associated British Foods

With Associated British Foods’ (LSE: ABF) Primark stores set to hit the States in the coming months, and the brand also expanding its presence on mainland Europe, the City is convinced that earnings should explode at the London firm. The growing stampede for cheap clothing and homeware helped to push sales 13% higher during October-June, and rising retail space should drive these figures still higher — another 300,000 square feet of space is being added this year alone.

Associated British Foods is also enjoying improving conditions at its Sugar division, with reduced sugar stocks pushing prices higher and wholesale costs coming down. Although these factors are not expected to supercharge earnings immediately — a 6% earnings fall is anticipated for the 12 year ending September 2015 — a 6% rebound is expected in the following period, nudging a P/E ratio of 31.7 times to 30.4 times for 2016. While this reading is still high on paper, it could be argued that the massive growth potential of Primark in particular merits this premium.

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