For growth hunters, IQE (LSE: IQE) has proven to be the stuff of legend in recent years.
The tech giant boasts a long record of undisturbed profits growth over the past five fiscal periods alone, and the bottom line has swelled at an impressive compound annual growth rate of 11.4% over that timespan too.
City analysts do not expect IQE to run out of steam just yet either. They are predicting additional earnings rises of 11% in 2018 and 38% in 2019, with growth expected to really pick up next year as the use of the company’s VCSEL technology in mass-market applications really takes off.
Investor appetite may not have kicked in for the AIM-quoted business since I last covered it in February, but I remain convinced the company should deliver stunning profits growth in the near term and much longer. Before I continue, however, I would like to look at another stock destined to deliver brilliant earnings improvements: MJ Gleeson (LSE: GLE).
Building brilliant profits
While the newsflow surrounding the UK homes market has remained pretty stable over the past several months, those making up the housebuilding sector have failed to replicate some of the stunning share price rises of 2017.
This is something of a mystery to me. Indeed,a couple of months ago Gleeson reported that “demand for our homes amongst our customer base remains strong,” the business adding that unit sales jumped by almost a third year-on-year during July-December to 593.
And the business is building its land bank to undergird future revenues growth, this rising to more than 12,000 plots as of the end of 2017 from 11,588 plots a year earlier. It also opened a new pilot office in Ashington, Northumberland to meet soaring client demand.
Like IQE, Gleeson has a splendid record of throwing out double-digit percentage improvements in annual earnings, this having improved by a compound annual growth rate of 35.5% over the past five years.
And the number crunchers believe that, with the country’s housing crisis driving demand for new-build properties, Gleeson should keep on generating excellent profits expansion. Indeed, rises of 10% are forecast for both the years to June 2018 and 2019.
Given its proven growth credentials I reckon the business is trading too cheaply right now, Gleeson boasting a dirt-cheap forward P/E ratio of 13.5 times.
Now although IQE may deal on an elevated forward P/E ratio of 28.2 times, I do not believe it is any less of an attractive bet than the housebuilder.
The company saw revenues boom 16.4% during 217, to £154.5m, with wafer sales jumping 21% thanks to volume ramp-ups linked to the rollout of Apple’s iPhone X. Meanwhile, sales across IQE’s Photonics division more than doubled to £47.6m last year.
What’s more, IQE has plenty of financial headroom to raise capacity to meet the expected soaring in demand in the years ahead, as well as to plough plenty of capital into product R&D. It comes as no surprise that Square Mile analysts are expecting earnings at the semiconductor maker to keep ripping higher.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool UK has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. 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.