The Motley Fool

Have £2,000 to spend? These out-of-favour growth stocks could still help you retire early

It’s been a rollercoaster morning for holders of stock in £1.1bn cap and AIM-listed Clinigen Group (LSE: CLIN). First, the good news.

The company, which manages, sells and distributes pharmaceutical products, reported a “strong financial performance” over the year to the end of June, with contract wins in Africa and the Asia Pacific region as well as good trading at its Commercial Medicines division.

Revenue moved 28% higher at constant currency to £381.2m with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) increasing by 19% to £76m. Pre-tax profit came in at £35.9m — a stonking 155% higher than in 2017. 

In addition to these positive numbers, Clinigen has acquired the global rights outside of the US to kidney cancer therapy Proleukin since the end of the reporting period. The global rights to infection-fighting drug Imurkin outside the US, Canada, and Japan were also secured as part of its ‘buy and build’ strategy. 

So why were the shares 10% lower this morning? It all seems to be down to the company’s decision to conduct a placing to institutional investors to raise up to £80m. This cash will then be used to part-fund the $150m purchase of packaging, labelling, and warehousing specialist CSM. In addition to this purchase, Clinigen also announced that it would be buying privately owned Swiss-based pharmaceutical business iQone for €7.5 million. 

While some investors may be a little concerned by this spate of buys, it’s worth pointing out that the integration of rival Quantum Pharma — purchased last year — has already generated £1.1m in cost synergies. 

Other than that, there doesn’t seem too much to worry about. Indeed, according to CEO Shaun Chilton, 2018/19 is likely to be “another year of good progress” for Clinigen as it attempts to “capitalise on the substantial long-term growth opportunity” in its markets.

Given this, a valuation of 17 times earnings for the new financial year (before this morning’s fall) already looked reasonable to me.

I’m inclined to regard today’s dip as an opportunity for new investors to climb on board. 

Buy on the dips

Another growth stock I remain positive on is veterinary services provider CVS Group (LSE: CVSG), despite concerns over whether the company can continue to recruit enough staff following Brexit.

Today’s full-year figures for the 12 months to the end of June (which included a 3.2% fall in pre-tax profit to 14.1m) haven’t been particularly well received by the market, even though the company did already signpost being cautious on earnings some time ago.  

Personally, I still think there’s a lot to like. Revenue moved 20.4% higher to £327.3m with like-for-like sales rising 4.9%. Adjusted EBITDA was 13.3% higher at £47.6m and there was also an encouraging 18.3% rise in owners signing up to its Healthy Pet Club loyalty scheme, bringing total membership numbers to 362,000.

No stranger to acquisitions, CVS purchased and integrated 52 surgeries over 2017/18 with another 16 secured after the end of the financial year. This now brings its entire estate to 491 surgeries. Make no mistake, it’s a major player in what it does. 

At 20 times earnings for the new financial year, the company isn’t cheap considering its rapidly growing debt pile (due to the aforementioned acquisition spree) but its valuation is certainly a lot more attractive than this time last year.

Once short-term issues are resolved, I’m confident the share price will recapture its lost form. 

Want To Retire Early?

Do you want to retire early and give up the rat race to enjoy the rest of your life? Of course you do, and to help you accomplish this goal, the Motley Fool has put together this free report titled "The Foolish Guide To Financial Independence", which is packed full of wealth-creating tips as well as ideas for your money.

The report is entirely free and available for download today, so if you're interested in exiting the rat race and achieving financial independence, click here to download the report. What have you got to lose?

Paul Summers 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.