Croda International’s (LSE: CRDA) latest financials may have received a muted reception from investors on Tuesday, this cannot mask how impressive its full-year results indisputably are.
Rather, today’s fractional share price fall should be viewed in the context of the rapid ascent enjoyed recently, up more than a third over the past 12 months alone and now back within a whisker of January’s record tops around £46 per share.
There’s plenty to like about Croda in my opinion. And today’s update provided fresh evidence of this.
Croda advised that, thanks to solid progress across all its core divisions, sales boomed 10.4% during 2017 to £1.37bn. This in turn pushed adjusted pre-tax profit 11.1% higher, to £320.3m.
Celebrating the results chief executive Steve Foots commented: “2017 was a year of significant progress, with record profits and strong organic sales growth. All core sectors and major regions contributed to this growth, demonstrating that our strategy continues to deliver and reinforcing that Croda has three strong legs of growth.”
This broad-based strength has been helped by a focus on premium, fast-growing market niches across its Personal Care, Life Sciences and Performance Technologies divisions.
Sizeable earnings growth in recent times has allowed Croda to lift the dividend at a healthy rate in recent times. Indeed, last year’s profits advance allowed the business to hike the payment 9.5% year-on-year to 81p per share.
And supported by predictions of more solid earnings progression — bottom-line improvements of 4% and 7% are forecasted for 2018 and 2019 respectively — City brokers are expecting dividends to shoot to 87p this year, and to 93.9p next year.
Yields may be handy if unspectacular, ringing in at 1.9% and 2.1% for 2018 and 2019. But the probability of strong and sustained earnings growth (aided by Croda’s strong cash flows) suggests that payouts should keep growing at a spectacular rate.
Besides, income investors can console themselves with the average near-term yields that have excellent dividend coverage. The FTSE 100 sees projected payments protected by estimated earnings 2.1 times through to the close of next year.
Croda may be pricey, the firm sporting a forward P/E ratio of 24.2 times. This is a small price to pay in my opinion, given the firm’s impressive sales momentum, the scope for more significant cost savings, and the likelihood of additional M&A action.
Let’s talk Ted
Before you go, I’d like to bring Ted Baker (LSE: TED) to the attention of all readers seeking splendid dividend growth outside of the Footsie.
As earnings have steadily jumped by double-digits in recent times, the London fashion star has hiked the shareholder payout at a similarly-impressive rate (60% in the four years to January 2017).
And City analysts are expecting this trend to keep rolling. A predicted 60.5p per share dividend for fiscal 2018 is expected to rise to 68.6p in the present period, supported by an anticipated 12% earnings improvement. And a similar profits rise forecast for next year is expected to propel the dividend to 77.9p. These forward projections yield 2.3% and 2.6% respectively.
Meanwhile, dividend coverage also stands at a rock-hard two times through to the close of fiscal 2020.
Like Croda, Ted Baker can’t be picked up cheap right now, the FTSE 250 business carrying a prospective P/E reading of 21.4 times. But I believe its brilliant growth record, assisted by its ongoing global expansion programme, makes it worthy of a premium rating.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Ted Baker plc. 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.