ZPG (LSE: ZPG) moved back towards recent record peaks of 394p per share in Wednesday business, the stock last 3% higher following the release of splendid half-year financials.
The business — which operates the Zoopla and uSwitch websites among others — announced that revenues revved 22% higher during the six months to March 2017, to £117.9m, a result that propelled adjusted EBITDA 11% higher to £45m.
It clocked up a record 314m visitors to its websites over the year, with technological innovations (like the ‘Move Planner’ instrument on Zoopla) and the huge investment in branding both boosting the hit counter.
ZPG has already carved itself a reputation for delivering exceptional double-digit earnings growth in recent years. And the number crunchers believe the London business still has plenty to offer, with City consensus suggesting earnings growth of 10% and 18% in the years to September 2017 and 2018 respectively.
And in my opinion, investors should not be deterred by ZPG’s forward P/E ratio of 26.3 times (a figure that shoots above the widely-regarded value benchmark of 15 times).
The company’s price comparison services still offer plenty of upside as the UK’s switching culture continues to grow, a phenomenon that could gain further steam in the months ahead as rising inflationary pressures put household budgets under increasing strain. ZPG saw revenues from its price comparison operations rise 8% in the first half to £62.1m.
On top of this, recent acquisitions like that of Hometrack also provide ZPG with a multitude of cross-selling opportunities.
With its property listings portal also showing its resilience despite signs of a cooling housing market (the company saw the number of agents on its books rise 6% in the period to March), I reckon ZPG is a splendid pick for those seeking robust earnings growth.
Mediclinic International (LSE: MDC) has not commanded the same sort of enthusiasm as ZPG in mid-week trade however, the company falling 6% from Tuesday’s close and away from recent six-month highs after reporting a whopping bottom-line fall.
The private healthcare play advised that underlying earnings slumped 19% in the year to March 2017 as troubles in Abu Dhabi weighed. Mediclinic has been whacked by regulatory changes to health insurance policies, as well as problems with new facility openings and a shortage in doctor numbers. And the business advised today that it only expects a “gradual improvement” in this embattled market.
Clearly it has a lot of work in front of it to turn around its troubled operations in the Middle East. But I believe the company remains a hot long-term pick as global healthcare demand continues to grow, and particularly in its emerging regions like the UAE and South Africa.
Indeed, the City expects Mediclinic to bounce from sustained earnings pressure from this year onwards, with current forecasts suggesting rampant growth of 36% in the period to March 2018. And an extra 13% rise is chalked in for fiscal 2019.
I believe Mediclinic remains a brilliant long-term stock selection, and worthy of a premium forward P/E ratio of 20.2 times despite its current troubles.
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