But before I continue with the hotels giant, I would like to look at another great all-rounder predicted to deliver great things now and in the years ahead, namely RPC Group (LSE: RPC).
The plastic packaging colossus was last dealing 6% lower on the day following the release of third-quarter trading details. However, this was not an indication of disappointing numbers.
Truth be told the FTSE 250 firm’s update was packed with positive nuggets. Thanks to the impact of recent acquisitions and foreign exchange tailwinds, sales jumped 31% during the October-December period to £898m.
On an organic basis, revenues at RPC improved 4% year-on-year, suggesting a pick up in recent months — the organic growth rate in the first nine months of the fiscal year was up 2.6%, RPC advised.
The solid third-quarter performance prompted the business to declare: “Profitability (before and after exceptional items) was in line with management expectations and grew significantly versus the prior year, aided by organic growth and the further realisation of synergies which offset an adverse polymer time lag impact.”
I think the market is missing a trick here, expecting today’s positive release to be met with some fanfare. Performance at RPC, helped by successful M&A activity, continues to steadily improve, and I expect rising environmental concerns to keep powering sales for its products — the vast majority of which are recyclable.
My optimistic take is also matched by City analysts who are predicting a long period of steady earnings growth, starting with rises of 14% in the year to March 2018 and 8% in fiscal 2019.
These projections leave RPC dealing on a forward P/E ratio of 11.3 times, a ridiculously cheap valuation in my opinion. But strong growth prospects are not the only reason to cheer as dividends are also likely to keep rising at a sprightly pace.
Last year’s 24p per share reward is anticipated to increase to 30.1p in the current year and to 32.4p in fiscal 2019. As a consequence, yields stand at a chunky 3.7% and 4% for these years.
Stunning dividend growth
As I said earlier, InterContinental Hotels is also braced to supply strong earnings and dividend growth.
Profits have boomed by double-digits in recent years and, helped by its worldwide room opening programme, this run is expected to continue with advances of 23% in 2017 and by 17% in 2018.
For 2019, a further 9% profits advance is predicted and, thanks to these bright forecasts, dividends are expected to continue swelling at an electrifying rate. The payout of 94 US cents per share in 2016 is expected to rise to 114.9 cents for last year. And for 2018 and 2019, rewards of 130.2 cents and 142.5 cents, respectively, are estimated.
Subsequent yields of 1.9% and 2.1% are anticipated for these years — hardly ripping — but they wouldn’t deter me as an income investor from splashing the cash given the pace at which rewards are growing.
In my opinion, InterContinental Hotels is a top Footsie stock worthy of a lofty forward P/E ratio of 22.9 times.