I for one remain compelled by the Nurofen and Durex manufacturer’s long-term earnings outlook, however, and consider current trading problems in some of its regions as nothing more than a few bumps in the road.
I plan to delve into Reckitt Benckiser’s brilliant investment potential in some detail. But before I do, I would like to look another London-quoted share making the headlines this week with fresh profits news of its own, namely food ingredients and nutrition specialist Glanbia (LSE: GLB).
Earnings grow again
On Wednesday, the company announced that 2017 revenues had jumped 7% to €2.39bn, a result that powered pre-tax profit 2% higher to €229.7m.
Meanwhile, Glanbia saw pro-forma adjusted earnings per share rise 10.2% at constant currencies, the eighth successive year of double digit earnings expansion. However, news that the business expects growth on a comparable basis to slow to between 5% and 8% in 2018 sent investors scurrying for the exits (the foodie firm was last 6% lower from Tuesday’s close).
City analysts had expected Glanbia to record an earnings rise of 9% in 2018 and to follow this with an 8% advance in 2019. But even if these figures undergo some downward adjustment, I believe the company remains a compelling growth pick for the years ahead.
You see, the Irish giant is taking steps to become, as it says, “one of world’s top performing nutrition companies.” And in keeping with this goal, Glanbia added that its focus in 2018 “will be on volume-driven revenue growth across [its] wholly-owned growth platforms of Glanbia Performance Nutrition and Glanbia Nutritional.”
The ingredients giant has invested heavily in brand development and product launches in recent years, while it has also forked out a fortune in boosting its plant and IT systems at both divisions, as well as building a new innovation centre at GPN. It’s also been busy building a presence in the nutritionals segment through targeted M&A and last year it bought Amazing Grass of the US and the Netherlands’ Body & Fit for a combined €168.2m.
Ongoing investment doesn’t come cheap but these vast near-term costs should provide the basis for Glanbia to make a significant splash in this fast-growing market. I believe a forward P/E ratio of 16 times is a compelling level at which to latch onto this exciting growth play.
In great health
Now for Reckitt Benckiser. Also trading outside the widely-accepted value territory of 15 times or below, the FTSE 100 business is dealing on a forward P/E ratio of 16.9 times. Like Glanbia, it’s also expected to generate earnings growth of 9% this year and 8% in 2019.
But in my opinion, the brilliant earnings visibility created by its raft of market-leading labels warrants this slight premium, as does Reckitt Benckiser’s sprawling presence across both developing and emerging markets.
With the acquisition of Mead Johnson helping it on its way to become a major player in the consumer healthcare segment (this division finally returned to growth at the back end of last year), I reckon the Footsie firm has everything to make investors a fortune in the years ahead.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Reckitt Benckiser. 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.