The last time I covered Avation (LSE: AVAP), I concluded that if the company can continue to produce investor returns as it has done in the past, the shares could double investors’ money every four years. It looks as if this remains the case. Shares in the aircraft leasing business have marched higher over the past two months, hitting a high of 242p in January, although they’ve recently been brought back down to earth by market turbulence.
Still, according to the company’s interim figures, which were published this morning, it looks as if Avation still has plenty of airspace to fly higher.
Restructuring the portfolio
According to today’s numbers, for the six months to the end of December, revenue increased 16% year-on-year as the value of the firm’s aircraft fleet rose 35% to just over $1bn. Unfortunately, earnings per share for the period declined 15% year-on-year, which management attributes to the sale of six ATR 72 aircraft in June 2017. These sales reportedly helped de-risk the portfolio by “lowering airline concentration” and unlocking funds for reinvestment into new planes.
Management’s actions to reposition the portfolio throughout the year mean that the average weighted age of the fleet has now decreased to 2.9 years (from 3.3 years) and the weighted average remaining lease term has increased to 7.9 years (from 7.5 years). The firm expects lease revenue to increase substantially in the second half thanks to these changes. So it seems that all in all, even though the sales of aircraft have dented profitability, the company is well positioned to continue to grow and reinvest in the years ahead.
As I mentioned before, Avation’s main method of value creation is via book value growth. Over the past five years, the company’s book value per share has expanded at a rate of 16% per annum. Growth slowed to just 4% in the period under review, although book value now stands at $3.32 per share or 237p, so today the shares are trading just below book.
City analysts are expecting earnings per share for the year to 30 June to fall by 21% before rebounding 23% to 25p next year. On this basis, the shares are trading at a forward P/E of 9.
Another investment that I believe can continue to produce returns for investors year after year is Amino Technologies (LSE: AMO). It produces technology for the pay-TV market, including set-top boxes, a highly lucrative business. Indeed, over the past five years, net profit has surged from £2.8m to £11.1m for fiscal 2017.
Management has returned the vast majority of this income to investors. The board has hiked Amino’s dividend per share by an average of 17.3% per annum over the past five years, leaving the shares yielding 3.7% today. This might not seem like much, but over the next five years, assuming the payout continues to expand at a rate of 10%, by 2023 the stock will yield just under 6%.
I have every confidence that the firm can keep up this rate of dividend growth. For the year to 30 November 2017, the distribution was covered 2.2 times by earnings per share and Amino’s balance sheet is stuffed full of cash with a cash balance per share of 13p reported at the end of fiscal 2017. On a valuation basis, the shares trade at a relatively modest forward P/E of 13.2 or 12.5 on a cash-adjusted basis.