Eckoh (LSE: ECK) is not your typical growth stock. After a successful 2013 and 2014, the company floundered for two years before finally waking up at the beginning of this year.
Year-to-date shares in the company have gained 40% thanks to improved trading, and it looks as if this is set to continue. According to a trading update from the firm today, for the six months to the end of September, the group achieved double-digit percentage year-on-year growth in both revenue and gross profit.
In the UK, trading is going to plan with revenue coming in at a similar level to the same period last year. Heading into the second half, management reports that the firm has a robust pipeline of deals in progress. Over in the US, where management has been concentrating on growth, the push is going well with seven contract wins worth $5.1m secured during the half year, up from three wins worth $2.7m the year before.
Since 2014 when Eckoh entered the US market, the firm has won 30 contracts and growth is picking up. The company has secured the same volume of contracts during the past six months as were won during the full 12-month period ending 31 March 2017.
Eckoh is a global provider of secure payment products and customer contact solutions, which include the group’s patented CallGuard software that can be deployed on a client’s site to remove sensitive personal and payment data from contact centres. The company is capitalising on the shift away from brick & mortar stores towards an online shopping experience as consumers seek more for less. And as this market expands, City analysts are expecting big things from the firm.
Indeed, the they are forecasting earnings per share growth of 172% for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2018, followed by growth of 16% for the following financial year. Looking at today’s trading update, it would appear that the company is on track to hit these targets. Even though the shares look pricey, trading at a forward P/E of 31.5, considering Eckoh’s explosive growth rate, I believe investors will be able to pocket a healthy profit even buying at this level.
Exceptional level of demand
Another top growth champion is Microgen (LSE: MCGN). Over the past year, its shares have risen 140% as demand for the company’s services has exploded.
The tech company reported earnings growth of 28% and 34% for 2015 and 2016, respectively. It looks as if the group is on track to report a similar performance this year. At the beginning of July, management reported that there had been an “exceptional level of demand” for its Aptitude Software, which is designed for the financial services industry.
I believe that as regulators demand more of financial firms, all of which are trying to keep costs low, companies like Microgen will benefit as software takes the place of humans. And the City seems to agree. Analysts are projecting earnings per share growth of 24% for 2017 and 20% for 2018 justifying the high valuation of 28.7 times forward earnings. But considering the high level of demand for the latest products, I believe that the firm could smash City expectations for this year, which would mean that this valuation is out of date.
Rupert Hargreaves owns no share 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.