4 Growth Plays That Are Too Good To Miss! Vodafone Group plc, Chemring Group plc, Whitbread plc And Prudential plc

Today I am looking at four growth greats poised to deliver lip-smacking shareholder returns.

Vodafone Group

I believe telecoms leviathan Vodafone’s (LSE: VOD) (NASDAQ: VOD.US) vast capital investment programme makes it an odds-on favourite to deliver gilt-edged gains in the coming years. The business has devoted £19bn to making it the world’s foremost data provider, and just last week shelled out £1.5bn to enhance its German division’s 3G and 4G capabilities. The London firm is also enjoying rampant demand in Asia amid surging smartphone demand.

Vodafone also remains engaged on the M&A front to boost its cross-selling opportunities, and this month announced it is in discussions to swap assets with telecoms and TV giant Liberty Global, as it seeks to bolsters it exposure to the lucrative ‘quad-play’ entertainment segment. The mobile operator has already bought out Kabel Deutchland and Ono of Greece in recent years.

These measures are expected to finally put a period of chronic underperformance to bed, and a 2% earnings rise for the year ending March 2016 is expected to accelerate to 15% the following year. Although these figures leave Vodafone dealing on elevated P/E multiples of 44.9 times and 36.1 times for these years, I expect these figures to keep rattling lower as revenues steadily improve.

Chemring Group

At first glance defence play Chemring (LSE: CHG) may not be the most obvious choice for growth hunters, as lumpy customer order timings continue to whack profitability. The Hampshire firm announced today that revenues slid 23% during November-April, to £161.7m, a result that forced Chemring to swallow a loss before tax of £15.1m compared with profits of £5.1m during the corresponding 2014 period.

Still, I believe that improving defence budgets — particularly from critical Western clients — should propel the top line higher in the coming years. Indeed, Chemring saw its order book leap to £502.8m as of April from £401.8m at the same point last year. Consequently the City expects the arms specialist to punch earnings growth of 24% and 18% for the years concluding October 2015 and 2016 correspondingly, resulting in highly-attractive P/E ratios of 14.2 times and 12.5 times.


I am convinced that the growing popularity of Whitbread’s (LSE: WTB) budget hotels and coffee houses should continue to underpin brilliant earnings growth. The business recently reported that like-for-like sales leapt 4.5% during March-May, with revenues at Premier Inn and Costa Coffee jumping 6.3% and 5% respectively in the period. And Whitbread’s massive investment programme — which will add a further 5,500 hotel rooms and a 250 coffee shops across the globe this year alone — should light a fire under sales growth.

This view is shared by the number crunchers, who expect the firm to record expansion to the tune of 13% and 14% for the years concluding February 2016 and 2017 correspondingly. On first look, earnings multiples of 21.4 times and 18.9 times for these years may not be jaw-droppingly attractive. But I believe Whitbread’s ability to generate year-after-year of terrific profits growth fully merits this slight premium.


With cash generation rolling along at a breakneck pace, I am convinced Prudential’s (LSE: PRU) acquisition-led growth strategy should keep on delivering in the years ahead. More specifically, ‘The Pru’ has made no secret that emerging markets provide the key to brilliant long-term returns, and I fully expect the company’s presence in these lucrative regions to swell to enormous levels as M&A activity heats up.

Like Whitbread, Prudential has a quite brilliant record of churning out dependable earnings growth year after year, and is expected to enjoy further expansion of 15% in 2015 and 11% in 2016 alone. These figures leave the London firm changing hands on decent P/E readouts of 14 times for this year and 12.7 times for 2016, while PEG numbers below the threshold of 1 through to the close of next year underline Prudential’s excellent value for money.

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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.