A bubbly trading statement has driven Elementis’ (LSE: ELM) share price 5% higher in Tuesday business. The chemicals maker is now dealing at its most expensive since April 2015 and is just a whisker away from punching fresh record peaks.
Elementis announced that it has enjoyed “stronger demand across most of our markets” during January-March versus the same 2016 period, with sales across its Specialty Products division (responsible for more than two-thirds of group revenues) benefitting from “notably strong growth” in its Personal Care and Energy sub-segments and a strong start from its Coatings business.
Meanwhile, Elementis’ Chromium division has also witnessed an uptick in demand outside North America, and a temporary improvement in pricing conditions is also supporting revenues at its Surfactants arm.
As a result Elementis commented that “we remain on track to grow operating profit across our three segments in 2017.”
A sage growth strategy
Elementis has not proved a stellar growth pick in recent years, the company enduring two heavy earnings dips on the bounce.
But the City expects the FTSE 250 firm to put this trouble to bed with advances of 15% and 14% in 2017 and 2018 respectively. And while Elementis subsequently deals on a forward P/E ratio of 20.6 times — peeking outside the value benchmark of 15 times — I still reckon the chemicals colossus remains an enticing pick at current prices.
Today’s release comes as welcome assurance as sales across its high-margin Personal Care and Energy arms continue to pick up the pace. And the $360m acquisition of SummitReheis in March also bolsters Elementis’ long-term growth profile, not only through bolstering its position in Personal Care but also by reducing its dependence upon the oft-unpredictable Chromium business.
The US-based company is becoming increasingly-cash generative and plans to allocate this capital to keep developing its hugely-lucrative Specialty Products operations. And I reckon this strategy should establish Elementis as a brilliant profits generator in the years ahead.
Like Elementis, stock picker demand for Man Group (LSE: EMG) has also exploded in recent sessions, the hedge fund manager hitting one-year peaks just today.
The company’s share price has boomed 30% since the start of 2017 alone, and I believe a meaty uptick in client activity should help Man Group to keep on charging. The financial goliath recorded assets under management of $88.7bn as of March, shooting from $80.9bn just three months earlier as net inflows surged $3bn.
Man Group is also anticipated to wave goodbye to recent earnings woes and punch stratospheric growth of 45% this year and 27% in 2018. Not only do these projections leave the fund manager trading on a low forward P/E ratio of 13 times, but a PEG readout of 0.3 (below the bargain watermark of 1) underlines its exceptional value.
While Man Group is not without its share of risk thanks to a wide array of regulatory pressures, I reckon these factors are more than baked in at current prices, and that the firm offers plenty of upside at current prices as client appetite picks up.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Elementis. 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.