It’s been a great year for shareholders of steel producer and miner Evraz (LSE: EVR) as rising commodity prices have seen its share price rise by more than 50% and balance sheet strengthen enough to support the reinstatement of dividends.
And even after this stellar rise, the company’s renewed dividend still yields a whopping 7.28% while it trades at under eight times forward earnings. The company’s Q3 production report released this morning suggests the recovery is continuing apace.
Quarter-on-quarter prices received for its products were up almost across the board in its US, Ukrainian, Russian and Kazakh operations. The group as a whole also saw crude steel output rise 5.9% during the period and steel product output increase 4.4%. Higher prices combined with higher production levels suggest its financial health will have continued to improve in the quarter.
In the half year to June, these same positive trends saw revenue rise 44.1% year-on-year (y/y) to $5,106m, EBITDA nearly double to $1,152m and net debt fall 10% to $4,284m. Debt reduction is still a critical target for management and with cash flow picking up significantly, there should be further good news on this front in H2.
The company’s interim dividend of $30c per share totalled $429m, which was covered nicely by free cash flow of $549m. Looking forward, the firm is still reliant on the Chinese government consolidating domestic steel production and housing construction in that country remaining high. However, for risk-tolerant investors who are bullish on these twin trends, Evraz could be a fairly cheap and high-income stock to take a closer look at.
Regulatory run-ins prove costly
Another company in the same vein is sub-prime lender International Personal Finance (LSE: IPF), which offers a 6.5% dividend yield and is trading at under six times trailing earnings. The business has been hit hard in recent quarters by regulatory overhauls in Poland, its largest market, and a few other European countries that have caused it to wind down home credit operations in Slovakia and Lithuania altogether.
While it awaits word on further fee caps on consumer loans proposed by the Polish government, the overall group is still performing decently. In H1, revenue rose 2.6% y/y in constant currency terms to £400m while the weak pound sent pre-tax profits up £10m to £43m.
However, stripping out the effects of currency movements makes underlying performance significantly worse. In its core Northern European market, underlying profits fell by £7.4m and customer numbers shrank by 13.3%, due largely to the Czech Republic.
The company is targeting growth regions such as Mexico and rolling out online lending platforms across the group. However, with regulators in several countries moving to cap fees on personal loans and proposed tax changes in Poland potentially costing it tens of millions of pounds, I’ll be steering clear of IPF at this point in time.
One bargain basement stock that does appeal to me is the Motley Fool’s Top Small Cap of 2017, which trades at just eight times earnings. This low valuation doesn’t mean low growth as the company has increased earnings by double-digits four years in a row.
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Ian Pierce has no position in any of the 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.