3 Growth Stocks Primed To Detonate: Prudential plc, Ashtead Group plc And easyJet plc

Today I am looking at three FTSE 100 stars set to deliver explosive earnings growth.


Shares in life insurance leviathan Prudential (LSE: PRU) (NYSE: PUK.US) took a whack earlier this month following news that chief executive Tidjane Thiam — mastermind of the company’s drive into overseas markets — would be leaving the firm in May. But with the groundwork now laid in lucrative Asian and US territories, strength from which drove operating profit 14% last year, to £3.2bn, I believe Prudential is in rude shape to enjoy exceptional revenues expansion.

Prudential has an exemplary record of delivering year-on-year earnings growth in recent years, and has seen the bottom line swell at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% since 2010. And the business is expected to witness further growth to the tune of 14% and 12% in 2015 and 2016 correspondingly.

These figures leave the insurer changing hands on a P/E multiple of 15.8 times prospective earnings for this year — peeking above the watermark of 15 times or below which represents stellar value — although this ducks to 14.1 times for 2016. At these prices I believe that Prudential, with its strong earnings record and rising exposure to hot growth regions, is an brilliant stock selection.

Ashtead Group

With conditions across its critical construction and industrial markets improving, I reckon that equipment rental specialists Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT) should keep on punching stunning bottom- line growth. The business announced this month that terrific performance across its Sunbelt and A-Plant divisions drove group revenues 24% higher during April-January, a performance which delivered record pre-tax profit of £379.4m, up around a third from the same period the prior year.

Like Prudential, Ashtead has seen the bottom line ignite in recent years and, according to City brokers, is in line to punch further growth of 32% for the year concluding April 2014. Although profits expansion is expected to slow in the following years, improvements of 26% and 15% for fiscal 2016 and 2017 respectively are not to be sniffed at.

Indeed, these projections drive a P/E readout of 18.5 times for the present year to just 14.9 times for 2016 and 12.9 times for 2017. And Ashtead’s excellent value for money is underpinned by PEG multiples of 0.6 for 2015 and 2016, and 0.8 for 2017 — any value below 1 is widely considered too good to pass up.


With demand for low-cost travel expected to continue surging, I believe that easyJet (LSE: EZJ) is also in line to experience strong profits growth well into the future. On top of rising passenger numbers, the Luton business is also benefitting from persistent euro weakness and falling fuel costs, factors which enabled it to recently upgrade its forecasts for the first half of the year — it now expects to post anything from a pre-tax loss of £5m to a profit of £10m, a vast improvement from the £10m to £30m loss predicted previously.

Having laid a base of consistent annual earnings expansion, economists are in broad agreement that easyJet is poised to enjoy further earnings growth in the coming years, and have pencilled in advances of 16% and 14% for the years ending September 2015 and 2016 correspondingly.

As a consequence easyJet deals on a low P/E figure of 13.9 times for the current year and 12.3 times for 2016, while the PEG reading registers at 0.9 through to the close of next year. With easyJet aggressively expanding the number of routes it operates to cotton onto surging traveller volumes, and oil prices predicted to rumble along at lowly levels for some time to come, I reckon easyJet should continue punching strong bottom- line growth.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.