Why AstraZeneca plc, NEXT plc & Trifast plc Are Genuine Growth Greats!

Today I’m looking at the growth potential of three London-quoted beauties.

Medicines mammoth snapping back

Despite the steady progress of AstraZeneca’s (LSE: AZN) product pipeline, many sceptics still believe the company is a risky proposition as doubts persist over whether its next-generation of products can replace the lost revenues of mammoth labels like Crestor and Nexium.

These doubts are certainly valid, while the perilous nature of drugs development – where the slightest testing setback can result in sales losses amounting to billions of dollars and extra R&D-associated costs – also looms large.

So while AstraZeneca could be viewed as something of a leap of faith, I reckon the no-nonsense approach of CEO Pascal Soriot in reinvigorating the firm’s development drive should deliver stunning returns ahead. Indeed, the London business continues to enjoy a steady stream of regulatory approvals, while it also remains busy on the acquisition trail to boost its in-house lab work.

Of course such actions take time to bed-in and the City expects AstraZeneca to follow an anticipated 3% earnings slip in 2015 with a 6% fall this year. But I believe the firm’s focus on hot growth areas like diabetes, respiratory and heart medicines, not to mention solid momentum in emerging markets, should deliver handsome returns for patient investors. I think a P/E rating of 16.5 times represents a decent point at which to buy-in.

A perfect fit

Retailer NEXT (LSE: NXT) was hotly tipped to disappoint the market with its latest trading update on Tuesday and so it has proved.

The company advised that full-price sales in the 60 days to Christmas Eve crept just 0.4% higher, a result NEXT put “mainly down to the unusually warm weather in November and December.” The retailer now expects profits to clock in at £817m for the year to January 2016, at the lower end of its previous projection of £810m-£845m.

The market has responded by sending shares in the business 6% lower in morning trading, but I believe this represents a fresh buying opportunity as NEXT’s long-term growth prospects remain unchanged.

Sure, NEXT may have commented that increased online competition impacted festive trading, but I believe the firm’s massive investment in its NEXT Directory online and catalogue division should reap handsome rewards in the years ahead.

City consensus suggests NEXT will enjoy earnings growth of 8% and 6% in fiscal 2016 and 2017, respectively, and although today’s release may prompt a rethink, I remain convinced its popularity should keep its terrific growth record rolling.

Fasten onto terrific returns

Like NEXT, I believe that bolts-and-fasteners manufacturer Trifast (LSE: TRI) will also continue to enjoy solid bottom-line expansion in the coming years – the Uckfield business has already seen earnings grow at an annualised rate of 31.6% during the past four years alone.

Trifast’s output can be found in a broad array of products, from car interiors and cookers through to a wide variety of electronic goods. And the company is steadily ramping up its footprint across the globe to boost manufacturing capacity, not to mention service its close relationships with multinationals and SMEs alike.

Trifast is expected to see growth slow to just 3% in the year to March 2016, and a 6% rise is forecast for the following 12-month period. Still, these projections create ultra-low P/E ratings of 12.8 times and 12.1 times, respectively, a great price in my opinion given the company’s steadily-improving position in a key market.

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Royston Wild owns shares of Next. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AstraZeneca. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.