Regular readers of The Motley Fool will be aware of the importance of shopping around and not limiting their stock searches to the FTSE 100 or any other of London’s major bourses.
Whether you’re hunting for big dividend yields or proven profit generators there’s no shortage of contenders amongst the capital’s smaller indices. In fact, if you’re looking for both right now then a quick glance at Gateley Holdings (LSE: GTLY) is definitely worth your while.
The firm is a specialist in commercial law with operations spanning from the UK to Dubai. Since listing on AIM back in 2015 — it was the first business of its kind to do so — it has continued its long story of churning out robust earnings growth, culminating in last year’s impressive double-digit-percentage advance.
And trading at the business remains extremely robust, leading brokers to suggest more sustained earnings growth (rises of 8% and 9% are predicted for the years to April 2019 and 2020 respectively). A critical driver of its strong performances has been its dedication to investing across the business.
Expanding its labour base is one such way that Gateley continues to thrive, and last year it bulked up the average fee-earning staff numbers on its books to 509 from 457 the year before, up 11.4% year-on-year. But what has really lit a fire under the bottom line is the company’s dedication to hunting down tasty acquisitions.
Acquisitions coming thick and fast
After making its first two acquisitions back in fiscal 2016 Gateley now has the bit firmly between its teeth. The legal eagle made a further two takeovers in the last 12-month period and since then it has seized business psychologist Kiddy & Partners to boost its employment services portfolio.
The business is showing little appetite to slow down on the M&A front. At this week’s AGM, non-executive chairman Nigel Payne said it continues to hunt for “additional complementary businesses which are earnings accretive and assist in diversifying the Group even further.”
Gateley certainly has the financial clout to keep its spending spree on the boil. Cash generation remained impressive last year and operating cash flow rose to £12.2m, up from £7.7m in fiscal 2017, while net debt tumbled £4.1 year-on-year to just £0.7m.
Delicious dividend yields rise to 5%
To the delight of income investors, Gateley’s rock-hard balance sheet and bright earnings prospects are leading the City to predict that dividends can keep growing and that it can offer inflation-busting yields as well.
Last year’s 7p per share total dividend is anticipated to advance to 7.5p in the present period, and again to 8.2p in the following year. As a consequence, yields stand at 4.6% and 5% for fiscal 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The market seems fairly oblivious to Gateley’s exceptional growth (and income) prospects, however, and this is reflected in the company’s cheap forward P/E ratio of 13.8 times. I’m convinced that the law specialist is a share that offers plenty of upside at current prices.
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Royston Wild 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.