It’s been a pretty mixed week for shares as the FTSE 100 has dropped back a little, but we do have some ending the week well. Here are two that are worth a closer look.
Avon Rubber (LSE: AVON) shareholders have had a pleasant morning as the value of their investment rose 9% to 909p on the back of a trading update.
The company, which manufactures rubber-based products, reckons pre-tax profit for the year to the end of September should be in line with market expectations. That suggests a rise of around 18% to approximately £21m, with earnings per share set to grow by about 21% to 68p for the fourth year in a row that EPS have climbed by more than 20%.
Performance in the firm’s Protection and Defence division is particularly pleasing, with Avon having secured a $9m order from a “major US city police department” for a newly-approved escape hood (a kind of emergency respiration device). Focus is on the firm’s 10-year sole source contract with the US Department of Defense for the supply of JSGPM M50 mask systems, with the company telling us it sees “a number of higher margin export opportunities for military masks.”
Around 80% of Avon’s 2015 revenues came from sales in the US, so it looks like a strong Brexit-proof investment. And the fall in the value of sterling should actually provide a bit of a boost for those export sales (although imports of raw materials will be adversely affected).
The only blot I see on the horizon is a 14% fall in EPS predicted for 2017, which would lift the shares to a P/E multiple of 15.5. But the timing of potential orders does potentially make Avon’s income a little variable, and I don’t see that as a long-term impediment. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see those 2017 forecasts revised upwards in the next few months.
AA (LSE: AA) had a nice morning too, up 5% to 305p at the time of writing. The shares have had a rough ride, losing a third of their value since late April 2015, and that includes a sharp tumble in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.
But since 27 June, we’ve seen a 45% recovery, with Friday’s uplift coming from a modest uprating from Morgan Stanley who set a new price target of 360p. Is that a realistic valuation? Well, the firm’s pre-close update in August indicated that first-half trading is in line with expectations, which would suggest the predicted 2% EPS growth for the full year is on the cards — and that puts the shares on a forward P/E of 13 (dropping to under 12 based on the 11% growth forecast for the following year).
The sale of AA Ireland has been completed for €156.6m and AA says it has “arrested the decline in paid personal Members and grown sales of new Memberships,” and it also says it expects “Brexit to have a minimal effect on our business.“
It does sound to me like AA is doing an effective job of turning itself around, and forecast dividend yields of 3.1% and 3.3% would look tempting if they turn out to be genuinely progressive in the coming years. My only caution is that I think there are better bargains out there, but on the whole I tentatively like the look of AA.
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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.