3 Staggeringly Priced Picks For Value Hunters: National Grid plc, Admiral Group plc & Imperial Tobacco Group PLC

Today I am looking at three blue-chip marvels offering splendid bang for your buck.

National Grid

Electricity network play National Grid (LSE: NG) (NYSE: NGG.US) is the most secure utilities play that investors can buy, in my opinion, the firm’s vertically integrated model insulating it from the pressures to curb charges that Centrica et al are facing. With National Grid’s also undertaking aggressive asset building on both sides of the Atlantic, and RIIO price controls in Britain curtailing the amount of cash seeping out of the business, I reckon earnings should step confidently higher in coming years.

The City expects National Grid to recover from a 15% earnings slide in the 12 months concluding March 2015 with rises of 4% and 2% in 2016 and 2017 correspondingly. As a result the power stock changes hands on P/E ratios of just 14.7 times and 14.2 times for this year and next — any reading below 15 times is widely considered excellent value.

Accordingly, National Grid is expected to keep dividends rolling higher during this period, with an anticipated payout of 43.5p per share for fiscal 2015 anticipated to rise to 44.8p next year and 45.4p in 2017. As a result the company offers a bubbly yield of 5.3% through to the close of 2017.

Admiral Group

I believe that car insurance leviathan Admiral (LSE: ADM) is a great pick for those seeking strong earnings and income expansion. Not only does the business look set to benefit from a resumption of premium increases in the UK in the coming years, but Admiral’s expansion across Europe and the US also promises to deliver solid revenue flows.

The insurance giant is expected to follow last year’s 2% earnings decline with an extra 12% slide in 2015 as the effect of intense competition weighs. But Admiral is expected to start punching again from next year, and a 5% recovery is currently expected by the number crunchers. Consequently the company deals on P/E ratings of 16.4 times and 15.7 times for 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Granted, these figures are respectable if unremarkable. But I believe that shareholders should certainly take notice of the yields on offer during this period — although Admiral is expected to pull the dividend lower this year as earnings slip, from 99.5p per share in 2014, a predicted payout of 89.3p still produces a bumper yield of 5.9%. And with earnings growth back on the agenda from next year, the dividend is predicted to rise to 94.5p, creating a monster yield of 6.3%.

Imperial Tobacco Group

A backcloth of eroding demand for traditional tobacco product demand has shaken investor faith in cigarette manufacturers like Imperial Tobacco (LSE: IMT) in recent times. Still, I believe that long-term demand for these goods remains strong in emerging markets, underpinned by strong marketing and innovation across key labels like Davidoff and Gauloises Blondes.

On top of this, aggressive moves into the e-cigarette market — particularly in the US, where its blu brand conquers all around it — should also bump revenues higher again in the coming years. Although earnings are expected to slip 2% in the year concluding September 2015, a second consecutive decline, Imperial Tobacco is anticipated to bounce back from next year, and a 5% improvement is currently chalked in. These projections create very decent P/E multiples of 15.3 times for 2015 and 14.6 times for 2016.

But it is in the dividend stakes where Imperial Tobacco is expected to continue to outperform, and the business is predicted to lift last year’s total payment of 128.1p per share to 142.7p in 2015, producing a brilliant yield of 4.6%. And an estimated payout of 157.4p in 2016 drives this readout to 5.1%.

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Royston Wild owns shares of Imperial Tobacco Group. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.