Are Paysafe Group Plc, Virgin Money Holdings (UK) PLC And Interserve plc Cracking Growth Bargains?

I’m always on the lookout for tasty growth candidates, and Paysafe (LSE: VM), formerly known as Optimal Payments, might just be one. The mobile payments firm turned a decent profit in 2013, and followed that with earnings per share (EPS) growth of 56% in 2014 — and we’ve just heard of a 15% rise in adjusted EPS for the year ended December 2015.

That came with a 68% increase in revenue, which boosted adjusted pre-tax profit by 60%. The integration of Skrill Group (acquired in August) is apparently going well and contributing to the bottom line. These results were slightly ahead of expectations, and are expected by the City to be followed by a 37% rise in EPS this year followed by another 15% in 2017.

The result, in share price terms, has been a mammoth gain of more than 1,500% since September 2011, with the past year bringing a rise of 73% (although there was very little change on the morning of the results). After all that, the shares are on a forward P/E of 14.4 this year and a PEG of only 0.4 (that’s P/E compared to earnings growth, where anything less than around 0.7 is usually taken as good value for a growth share). And 2017 forecasts suggest a P/E dropping to 12.5 and a PEG of a still attractive 0.8. That doesn’t look stretching for a strong growth candidate and the analysts are rating it a strong buy, but it’s a highly competitive business.

Banking upstart

Virgin Money (LSE: VM) shareholders have had a rocky ride over the past 12 months, with their shares slumping to 273p on 9 February. But since then they’ve enjoyed a 38% recovery to a healthier 370p. The firm’s first full year as a listed company, ended December 2015, produced a 53% rise in underlying pre-tax profit to £160.2m, and investors snagged a modest 1.2% dividend yield.

But the year just gone is not what’s so good, it’s what forecasters think is still to come that should be exciting growth investors. A predicted 40% gain for the current year would put the shares on a P/E of under 12 which, in more bullish times, would probably be seen as very cheap for such growth prospects. And what’s more, it would give us a PEG ratio of only 0.3.

It’s not just the one year either, as a further 32% EPS rise pencilled-in for 2017 would drop the P/E to just nine and would keep the PEG at that lowly 0.3. The City’s analysts are on a pretty clear strong buy stance for Virgin Money, and I can see why.

Turnaround time?

Support services group Interserve (LSE: IRV) has suffered a 25% share price fall over the past 12 months, to 440p, though that’s up from a low of 360p on 12 February. The company, which serves hospitals, schools, government, and other sectors, has posted several years of steady growth up until 2015. But there’s a 6% dip in EPS predicted for 2016, and that will have taken some of the shine off the growth story and contributed to the poor share price performance.

But there’s a return to growth of 11% on the cards for 2017, which would drop the P/E to just 6.3 (from a still very low 7 for this year), and would hand us a PEG of 0.6. On top of that, there’s a 5.7% dividend yield expected for this year, followed by 6% next, both of which would be well covered.

So, a good low growth valuation with very tasty dividends thrown in, on such an attractive P/E — there must be something wrong, mustn’t there? I can’t see anything myself, and neither can the brokers who have Interserve as a strong buy (with no dissenting sell votes).

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Alan Oscroft 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.