2 beaten-down UK growth stocks to buy right now

The market seems to have lost interest in these growth stocks, but Paul Summers is confident they could generate great returns for investors in time.

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The recovery in the UK stock market over the last year would suggest there are no longer any beaten-down growth shares worth buying. I beg to differ. Today, I’m highlighting two companies that, while not ‘cheap’ in the traditional sense, could still offer decent upside for investors like me who are prepared to sit on their hands.

AG Barr

In contrast to other consumer goods stocks, the share price of drinks firm AG Barr (LSE: BAG) is still to see some serious positive momentum. Nevertheless, today’s trading statement does hint that the recovery is getting closer.

This morning, Barr said that trading has been in line with management expectations. That’s comforting considering the UK was in lockdown for the early part of 2021.

As investors might expect, the easing of restrictions and re-opening of hospitality and leisure venues have provided a much-needed boost to sales. This is particularly the case for its Funkin ready-to-drink cocktails business (although people still seem to be consuming these at home). Elsewhere, the launch of new products, such as Rubicon RAW Energy, have been well-received by consumers. 

There were also encouraging noises on dividends. Now, income isn’t a priority for growth investors like me (I simply re-invest what I receive). However, I do use it as a gauge for just how confident management is on future trading. Today, Barr announced it remained committed to restoring cash returns in the current financial year. More news is expected in August.

A forecast price-to-earnings ratio of 22 isn’t initially appealing, especially given the risk of coronavirus infections climbing again. Naturally, any change to Boris Johnson’s roadmap back to normality would not go down well with the market.

Nevertheless, it’s worth highlighting that BAG is still 45% off the valuation it hit almost exactly two years ago. It’ll take a while, but I firmly believe the Irn-Bru owner will fizz in time.

Avon Rubber

A second growth stock that’s still far off previous highs is life-critical personal protection firm Avon Rubber (LSE: AVON). Thanks to the strangely muted reaction to this week’s encouraging interim results, I think there’s still time for investors like me to get involved in this quality company.

According to CEO Paul McDonald, the firm has made a “strong start” to the year. The numbers bear this out. Revenue and adjusted pre-tax profit climbed 41% (to $122m) and 23% (to $16m) respectively over the six months to the end of March. In other news, net debt pretty much halved to just over $44m. The interim dividend was also hiked by 30%.

Perhaps most importantly for would-be investors, Avon said that it was making “good progress” with regard to sorting out the delays in gaining product approval for its body armour programmes. This is partly what caused the shares to dive late last year. 

Thanks to a 46.5% jump in orders, the mid-cap — which will shortly change its name to Avon Protection — thinks it will deliver full-year numbers as expected. Revenue visibility going forward has also been described as “excellent“. That’s more than you can say for other growth stocks. 

Avon is still 35% below the share price high it hit back in December. Again, like AG Barr, I’m not expecting this gap to close overnight. However, I do think those with time on their hands will be rewarded eventually.

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.

Paul Summers owns shares of AG Barr. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AG Barr and Avon Rubber. 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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