Central and Eastern Europe’s largest low-cost airline Wizz Air (LSE: WIZZ) has just completed its financial year ended 31 March, and although final results aren’t due to be released until May, I’m expecting another solid performance from the no-frills carrier. In its last trading update the company reported yet another quarter of profitable growth, with pre-tax profits jumping 104% to €33.1m and passenger numbers increasing by 20% to 5.7m.
Last month, the airline announced its intention to open its first UK airport base operation at Luton Airport in June, with one new Airbus A320 aircraft. London Luton has been operating Wizz Air flights for over 12 years, but this will be the airline’s first UK airport with base operations.
Wizz Air is already the second largest carrier at Luton, but the airline hopes that establishing a base there will strengthen its operational presence, with a view to increasing the number of routes being served from there to 42.
Three new services from Luton will connect it with Tel Aviv in Israel, Pristina, the capital of Kosovo and Kutaisi in Georgia, which happens to be the only direct connection between Georgia and the UK. Last year Wizz carried more than 5m passengers from Luton, and hopes to offer 6.3m seats during 2017, representing 13% growth year-on-year.
I believe the future is bright, with the airline well on track to strengthening its position through continued growth in its core markets and further expansion of its network. Wizz trades on a very attractive valuation at just 10 times earnings, dropping to nine by 2018/19.
Another mid-cap FTSE 250 firm that I believe could be a shrewd buy this month is Marshalls (LSE: MSLH). The specialist landscape products group announced its 2016 results recently, reporting strong growth in pre-tax profits of 31% to £46m, driven by an improvement in operating margins to 12%, from 9.7% the previous year.
Sales to the domestic end market, which represent 31% of group sales, were up 10% compared with the previous year, and were particularly strong in the second half when they rose 14%. Meanwhile, sales to the public sector and commercial end market, which represent 64% of group sales, were broadly in line with the prior year.
The Marshalls brand remains central to its strategy and the company has once again received “Superbrand” status for 2017. The group has an increasingly strong market position and continues to benefit from being recognised as a trusted brand with excellent environmental credentials.
Marshall’s shares are up by around 22% since my last recommendation in November, but I think there’s plenty more to come with steady growth set to continue for the foreseeable future. Trading at 18 times earnings, the shares are much cheaper than the five-year average, and I can see more upside potential over the medium term.
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Bilaal Mohamed has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Marshalls. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.