To say that Robert Walters (LSE: RWA) has proved a wise investment for growth hunters would be something of a huge understatement.
The recruitment specialist has seen the bottom line swell at a compound annual growth rate of 34.1% since it returned to earnings growth back in 2013. And the City does not expect earnings to backtrack any time soon, with expansion of 3% and 13% forecast for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
And I reckon a consequent forward P/E ratio of 15.7 times makes Robert Walters exceptional value at current prices.
Indeed, investors can look forward to profits exploding at the London-based business if the company’s knockout first-quarter release is anything to go by. Net fee income (at constant currencies) at Robert Walters surged 20% between January-March, the fastest rate of growth for almost six years.
This clocked in at a record £78.3m for the period, the company enjoying a 10% improvement in Asian net fee income thanks to strength in Vietnam and Indonesia.
But Robert Walters did not just enjoy resplendent growth in its single largest market. In the UK, net fee income rose 27% thanks to “a notable upturn in financial services recruitment activity in London plus good performances in legal recruitment and the UK regions.” And in Europe, strong performances in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands helped aggregated net fee income surge 25%.
So while trading conditions at home may become tougher as Brexit forces the banking industry to relocate en masse, Robert Walters’ broad presence across the globe (its other geographic locations also includes North America) should protect it from a loss of financial jobs abroad.
I reckon Robert Walters is in great shape to deliver stonking earnings growth long into the future.
A brilliant bet
Ladbrokes (LSE: LCL) has not proved to be a growth star like Robert Walters in recent years, the business having recorded four eye-watering earnings drops on the bounce. But the City believes the betting colossus is on the cusp of a stunning recovery.
Current projections suggest that Ladbrokes will record a 73% earnings bounce in 2017, and should follow this up with a 23% surge in the following 12-month period.
And such forecasts make the company a brilliant value pick, in my opinion — not only does a forward P/E ratio of 11.2 times indicate excellent value, but a PEG reading of 0.2 falls well below the bargain barometer of 1.
While Ladbrokes faces huge uncertainty from the government’s review into fixed odds betting terminals, I reckon the risks are more than factored-in at current share prices and that the company still provides plenty of upside.
Last year’s merger to create the UK’s largest high street bookmaker provides brilliant scale, while an increased emphasis on the online market provides plenty of revenue opportunities. Digital revenues were up 20% in the year to March 19, Ladbrokes noted last month.
On top of this, the massive cost synergies created by the deal (Ladbrokes upgraded its cost synergy target to £100m from £65m in March) also gives the bookies’ earnings picture an extra shot in the arm. I believe Ladbrokes could prove a great growth pick for the years ahead.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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.