The last time I covered the Barclays (LSE: BARC) share price, I concluded that, despite all of the problems facing the business, the stock could ultimately be worth 80% more than its value at the time “when Barclays finally gets its act together.“
More than a month on, and I still believe shares in the bank could double from current levels, even though activist investor Edward Bramson recently failed in his attempt to get Barclays’ management to shake up the business and prioritise shareholder returns.
There’s no denying the bank has struggled to recover from the financial crisis. Even though a decade has passed since the entire UK banking sector was brought to the brink, Barclays just hasn’t been able to shake off its past issues.
Indeed, only a few weeks ago, it was fined €210m by the EU for its part in a foreign exchange cartel. It seems to me as if investors just can’t get past the constant string of lawsuits and fines Barclays appears to be facing. And I can’t blame them.
However, these issues are also camouflaging the fact there’s a fundamentally strong business under all of the problems, which is producing fantastic profits. Last year, for example, the bank reported a net income from operations of £2.2bn.
This year, analysts have pencilled in a net profit of £3.8bn. So far, there seems to be little reason to doubt the City’s growth projections for the firm.
CEO Jes Staley is targeting a return on tangible equity (a measure of profitability) of more than 9% for 2019, and 10% for 2020. Insiders have described this goal as “sacrosanct” and Staley isn’t taking any prisoners in his quest to meet the target.
Back in April, it was revealed he is planning to cut bonuses as part of a cost-cutting drive to boost returns at the underperforming investment division, a drastic decision that has risked staff ire. Nonetheless, it’s clear the bank needs to take these actions if its ever going to pull itself out of the doldrums.
Only time will tell if I’m correct in my assertation that the Barclays share price could double from current, but I reckon the odds are in my favour. Even if earnings stay where they are for the next 10 years, there’s still a good chance the stock could double as, right now, it’s dealing at a historical P/E of just 6.8 and price to book ratio of 0.4.
By comparison, shares in international peer HSBC command a P/E of 11.4 and deal at a book value of one. And as well as earnings growth, the City is expecting Barclays’ dividend to rise a double-digit percentage this year as well.
After cutting the distribution to save money in 2016, management decided to double the payout in 2018, and analysts believe an increase of 15% is on the cards for 2019. If this comes to fruition, the stock will end the year with a dividend yield of 5%.
So, overall, not only is the Barclays share price deeply undervalued compared to its peers, but it also supports a market-beating dividend yield, so there’s something for everyone.
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Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays and HSBC Holdings. 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.