When it comes to great growth stocks, Bunzl (LSE: BNZL) is hard to beat. It’s why I loaded up last autumn. The FTSE 100 firm has a knack of increasing profits year after year, helping to raise annual dividends consistently for 25 years.
Even in times of growing stress on the global economy, Bunzl has been able to keep the bottom line growing. So, with signs of economic conditions worsening across its key European marketplace, and fears rising of a potential US slowdown as soon as late 2019, it will be interesting to see what the company has to say for itself when it releases full-year results on Monday.
A lifeboat in troubled times
It certainly appears that the broader market is confident the business can deliver another set of solid results. It’s why the company’s share price has printed record high after record high in recent weeks and a burst through the £25 per share marker has taken gains since the seven-and-a-bit weeks from New Year’s Day to 7%.
It’s no surprise to see share pickers flocking to Bunzl in uncertain times like these. Of course, the support services economy is geared to the health of the broader global economy. But thanks to the broad choice of services that it offers to a variety of sectors, and the market-leading positions it has in many of these areas, it offers strength against any shockwaves through its diversity.
What’s more, through its increasingly-aggressive quest for acquisitions, Bunzl is reinforcing its base for long-term profits growth. M&A is always a risky business, of course, but the company has proved it has an eye for great earnings-enhancing purchases, as well as a splendid track record of their successful integration into the broader group.
City analysts certainly aren’t perturbed and they expect Bunzl’s long-running profits story to continue in 2019 with a 5% rise, and another 3% advance is predicted for next year. A subsequent forward P/E ratio of 19 times may make it a tad toppy on paper, though I would consider its proven resilience in difficult times makes it worthy of such a premium.
Get your chemicals fix
Croda International (LSE: CRDA) is another Footsie-quoted share expected to sail through the stormclouds gathering over the world economy and keep growing earnings (by 8% in both 2019 and 2020, to be exact).
And, like Bunzl, the chemicals giant will also be one to watch in the coming days — full-year financials are slated for Tuesday. Restructuring of its Personal Care operations continues to deliver the goods and, as a consequence sales of new products here, grew by double-digit-percentages in the third quarter, Croda advised back in November. And broader efforts to expand its core continue to pay off as well, pushing constant currency revenues across these essential operations 4.5% higher in the three months.
Now Croda also doesn’t come cheap, as reflected by its prospective P/E ratio of 24.5 times. Given the ongoing success of its restructuring strategy, though, and the possibility of sustained profits growth beyond the medium term, I consider such a premium fitting for this particular stock.
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Royston Wild owns shares of Bunzl. 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.