Expensive but exceptional! 3 FTSE 250 growth shares that could help you to retire early

These FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) stocks may be expensive but they’re worth every penny, argues Royston Wild.

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Dechra Pharmaceuticals (LSE: DPH) is a share fully deserving of a high-rating, I believe. Its forward P/E ratio of 29.8 times, a reading that sails over the widely regarded value watermark of 15 times (or below), is a fair reflection of the immense growth in the animal health category, in my opinion. Medicinal care for animals is increasingly big business as growing global meat demand increases livestock numbers, while the rise in the number of companion animals is also bolstering demand for the products offered by the likes of Dechra.

Latest trading details released this week illustrated this perfectly as revenues at the FTSE 250 firm powered 19.2% higher to £231.4m between July and January.

Through a combination of acquisitions and rising research and development spending — it hiked total spend here by more than four-tenths in that aforementioned six-month period — Dechra is setting itself up to deliver stunning sales growth now and in the future. City analysts agree and are consequently forecasting profits growth of 13% and 14% in the years ending June 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Flying high

SSP Group (LSE: SSPG) is another share from the UK’s second-tier share index carrying a high valuation — in this case a prospective P/E multiple of 24.3 times — because of its brilliant growth credentials.

Earnings at the business, which offers retail and catering services to travellers at hundreds of airports and rail stations the world over, have long boomed by double-digit percentages and the number crunchers are expecting this enviable trend to keep rolling with rises of 11% and 10% touted for the years concluding September 2019 and 2020 respectively.

And forecasts are fully entitled to be so bullish right now. Thanks to a 3.8% rise in net contract gains in the first fiscal quarter, a result that was driven by strong contract wins in North America in particular, revenues shot 7.6% higher year-on-year at constant currencies. And with SSP describing its pipeline of new contracts as “encouraging”, the investment community can be forgiven for expecting more strong progress on the sales front in the near term and thereafter.

Yummy stuff

Greggs (LSE: GRG) is another FTSE 250 company whose great growth pedigree commands a weighty premium, in this example a forward P/E ratio of 22.3 times. It’s a share whose price continues to go from rise strongly, over 42% in the past three months alone, and I’m expecting it to continue going from strength to strength.

The bakery chain’s attractively priced fare is enabling it to sidestep worsening conditions for the British retail sector, as illustrated by the fact that like-for-like sales in company-managed stores leapt 9.6% in the seven weeks to February 15. Jam doughnuts and cups of tea are staples of the domestic diet and by offering them at affordable prices, Greggs is able to keep growing sales.

This is not the only reason to fall in love with the business, though. New product ranges like its much-publicised vegan sausage rolls are going down a storm too, and so it’s no shock that City brokers are forecasting more solid earnings growth, with rises of 13% in 2019 and 7% next year currently pencilled in. It’s a share which, like SSP and Dechra, could make you much richer in the years to come, I believe.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of SSP Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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