Why Aviva plc, Anglo American plc and AA PLC are 3 top turnaround plays

Aviva’s (LSE: AV) share price performance since the turn of the year has been both surprising and disappointing. It has been disappointing because the life insurer’s shares have fallen by 15% and surprising because Aviva appears to have a bright future following its combination with Friends Life.

In fact, the merged entity has the scope to become a dominant player in the life insurance space, with the synergies from the deal being significant and on track to be delivered. Furthermore, Aviva has gradually recovered from a tough period when it made a loss in 2012 by restructuring and becoming a more efficient and highly profitable entity. As such, weak investor sentiment doesn’t seem to make sense.

Looking ahead, Aviva is expected to post a rise in its earnings of 9% in the next financial year. This puts it on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 8.6, which for a high quality business seems low. And with Aviva yielding 5.4%, it seems to be a great income as well as value play. As such, it would be of little surprise for its shares to not only record a turnaround, but to also increase in value by a large amount over the medium-to-long term.

Share price in need of assistance?

Also struggling since the turn of the year have been shares in recovery and insurance specialist AA (LSE: AA). They’re down by 12% year-to-date and are showing little sign of making a comeback even though the company has upbeat forecasts.

AA is expected to deliver a rise in earnings of 6% this year and 13% next year. Part of the reason for this impressive outlook is a sound strategy, with AA set on a transformation plan that will see it focus on marketing efforts, as well as a new digital strategy. This should boost customer wins as well as customer retention, while AA’s £40m in annualised cost savings that are due to be delivered from 2019 are thus far on track.

With AA trading on a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of 0.7, it seems to offer excellent value for money. And with a yield of 3.6% that’s covered 2.4 times by profit, it appears to be ripe for improved performance over the coming years.

Long-term strength

Meanwhile, Anglo American (LSE: AAL) is already in the midst of a turnaround. Its shares have risen by 217% in the last three months and looking ahead, there could be more to come. That’s because investor sentiment towards the mining sector is improving and it could lead to a further upward rerating of Anglo American’s current valuation.

On this front, Anglo American currently trades on a PEG ratio of only 0.3 due in part to its expected increase in earnings of 54% next year. While there’s scope for a downgrade to this figure, Anglo American seems to have an adequately wide margin of safety to warrant investment right now and could prove to be an excellent buy for the long run.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Anglo American and Aviva. 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.