The following two FTSE 100 stocks started 2017 with a bang but can they maintain recent stellar growth?
British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE: IAG) has been a real high-flyer rising 20% in the first three months, recovering much of last year’s share price losses in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit shock. The world hasn’t lost its love of flying, even after the UK’s snub to the EU.
The company is also expanding into the budget arena, with its new low-cost long-haul airline brand Level due to start operating in June 2017, with regular commercial flights in June from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and the Dominican Republic. However, air traffic growth has slowed lately. Revenue passenger kilometres increased by 2.6% in the year to March but this was down from 4.4% in January, although annual group premium traffic held firm at 6.9%.
IAG has also been helped by lower fuel prices and although Brent crude has climbed above $55 in recent days, global supply remains high and further upside may be limited. The downside is that cheaper fuel has kept many rival airlines flying so the industry has been hit with overcapacity, reducing prices. This is less of a problem with IAG’s premium brands British Airways and Iberian, which aren’t competing directly with the budget operators.
However, its transatlantic operations face a price war with the Norwegian Air Shuttle and other new entrants, and there are concerns about a dip in US corporate travel demand. Recent acceleration may slacken with earnings per share (EPS) forecast to fall 7% this year, which could prove a comedown of three years of growth in the high double-digits. However, EPS are due to rebound 7% in 2018. Also, a yield of 3.8% covered four times is tempting and trading at just 6.45 times earnings, there is still time to hop on board.
Global medical products and technologies company ConvaTec Group (LSE: CTEC) also jumped around 20% in Q1, helped by positive 2016 of results. Adjusted EBITDA jumped 7.1% to $508m, while adjusted operating profit climbed 8.1% to $472m. The medical technology company, which only launched in October 2016, has a strong pipeline of innovative new products aimed at helping the growing number of people living with chronic conditions.
This year’s new product launches include a care recovery programme for stoma patients, new catheter and ostomy care products, skin protecting incontinence wipes and ‘Foam Lite’ dressing products. The £5.59bn group is also growing through acquisitions, recently buying Dutch surgical appliance manufacturer EuroTec Beheer for €25m in order to strengthen its position in the France and Benelux markets. It posted group revenue growth of 4% at constant currency rates.
Carry on climbing
ConvaTec looks pricey at 26.65 times earnings, although dramatic forecast EPS growth of 47% for 2017 should bring that back to earth, with a further 10% EPS growth pencilled-in for 2018. There is no dividend as yet, but by the end of next year City analysts expect the stock to yield 2.2%. This is an expanding, energetic, innovating company that may also have further to fly.