Hard landscaping products supplier Marshalls (LSE: MSLH) has today released a solid trading update that shows it’s delivering on its 2020 Strategy. Sales in the last six months rose by 2% versus the prior year, reflecting a particularly positive May and June, which saw sales increase by 5%.
This was primarily caused by strength in Marshalls’ Domestic segment, where sales rose by 12%. This division represents around a third of its sales and even though order books fell to 11.7 weeks from 12.4 weeks in April, the outlook for the segment remains upbeat. Similarly, Marshalls’ larger segment, Public Sector and Commercial, also performed well and recorded a rise in sales of 2% in May and June.
Looking ahead, the uncertainty facing the UK economy could hurt Marshalls’ outlook. However, it trades on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.7 and so there appears to be a wide margin of safety on offer. Plus, its strategy of reducing costs and improving operational efficiency should aid its financial performance even if sales disappoint, which makes now a good time to buy it for the long term.
Promising but pricey
Also reporting today was IMImobile (LSE: IMO). The provider of cloud software and solutions recorded a rise in sales of 26% in its most recent financial year, with organic growth contributing close to half of that figure. This resulted in adjusted pre-tax profit rising by 21%, with IMImobile’s European and American operations performing well and recording an increase in gross profit of 21%.
IMImobile’s future growth potential remains upbeat. It has a number of stable client relationships, a pipeline of new deployments and a high mix of recurring revenues that provide it with a good visibility of future performance. Its bottom line is expected to rise by 8% next year and while this is an impressive rate of growth, IMImobile’s PEG ratio of 1.7 indicates that it’s rather fully valued. As such, it may be prudent to await a keener share price or improved forecasts before buying a slice of it.
Meanwhile, Quadrise Fuels (LSE: QFI) has fallen by 8% today after the release of an end-of-year update. The manufacturer and supplier of oil-in-water emulsion fuels reports that excellent progress has been made with the marine project since its half-year results. However, delays have been experienced regarding Quadrise’s pilot programme in Saudi Arabia, as well as on the technical evaluation work it’s undertaking for a number of clients.
In terms of Quadrise’s outlook, it’s expected to move from loss to profit in the next financial year and this has the potential to significantly improve investor sentiment in the stock. This would be highly welcome after Quadrise’s share price fall of 25% in the last six months. However, with investor sentiment being relatively weak and there being a number of highly profitable stocks trading on wide margins of safety, there may be better opportunities for investors to profit elsewhere.