Should I Invest In STV Group Plc Or Man Group PLC On Today's Results?

Photo: LukeSZ. Licence:
Photo: LukeSZ. Licence:

With adjusted earnings up 10% and net debt down 13% for the year, STV Group's (LSE: STVG) full-year results today reveal that the firm's growth strategy remains on track.


The company is Scotland's leading digital media brand with programmes going out to around 3.6m viewers per month along with what the company describes as the most comprehensive local news service in the UK.

Diversified income

The firm's chief executive says: "Our investments and focus have put us in a strong position to deliver organic growth in the future and the increasing diversity of earnings improves the security of returns for our investors."

On the subject of diversity, the results show that 22% of the company's earnings came from non-broadcast revenues during 2015, a figure that has grown from the 11% achieved in 2011. To mark these good results, the directors hiked the dividend by a healthy 25%, which is a great result for the firm's existing investors.

At today's share price of 422p, the forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio runs at just under 10. Meanwhile, there's a 2.8% forward dividend yield with the payout covered a decent 3.6 times. City analysts following the firm expect earnings to expand by 8% during 2016 followed by a further 10% increase in 2017.

Borrowings seem under control with net debt running at around 1.5 times the level of annual operating profit, and falling. So STV Group looks like a growing business trading at a reasonable price although there's a lot of cyclicality in the firm's business model due to reliance on advertising revenues. That said, the firm is trading well and growing now, so perhaps I should buy some of the firm's shares.

Disappointing results

Alternative investment products provider and hedge fund manager Man Group(LSE: EMG) delivered a disappointing set of full-year results today. Net revenues are down 0.5% for the year and adjusted profit before tax sank 17%. The problem seems to boil down to an 11% fall in performance fees revenue -- even hedge funds are finding these markets difficult to trade!

The firm's chief executive says: "Looking forward, the on-going volatility in the markets in which we operate remains very challenging and, accordingly, the risk appetite of our clients might impact flows. However, we now have a more diversified offering and a range of attractive options for growth, which have strengthened the firm and enhanced our resilience as a business."

Although funds under management rose around 8% for the year, delivering a 6% boost to net management fee revenue, there's a clear risk that this improvement could reverse. If that happens alongside continuing poor fund performance, there could be a double whammy that takes profits and the share price lower.

I'm avoiding Man Group shares because of that risk, and because the firm's operations lack visibilty. I'd rather invest on my own behalf than have my investing outcomes dependent on the actions of other traders, as I would by investing in Man Group.

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Kevin Godbold has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.