Boring but beautiful! Are these the Footsie's greatest growth stocks?
Packaging specialist Mondi (LSE: MNDI) has long been one of the FTSE 100's (INDEXFTSE: UKX) best earnings creators, the essential nature of its products guaranteeing bottom-line expansion year after year.
A spate of shrewd acquisitions has helped earnings expand by double-digit percentages in recent times, and Mondi can boast a compound annual growth rate of 14.5% during the past five years.
This rate is expected to slow in the more immediate future, however, with rises of 'just' 6% and 3% forecast for 2016 and 2017 respectively. Still, these projections produce P/E ratios of 13.4 times and 12.9 times, well below the blue chip average of 15 times.
Given Mondi's terrific track record and strong momentum -- underlying operating profit rose 8% during January-June, to EUR529m -- not to mention the cash capacity to fund further global expansion, I reckon Mondi is a bona fide bargain at the present time.
Similar to Mondi, Unilever (LSE: ULVR) boasts classic defensive qualities that enable it to keep growing the bottom line regardless of wider economic troubles.
Both companies carry terrific geographical and product diversification that protect from weakness in one or two key areas. But Unilever's trump card comes in the form of its formidable product stable -- labels like Dove soap, Sunsilk shampoo and Flora spreads attract tremendous customer loyalty that enables prices to be lifted irrespective of wider pressures on shoppers' wallets.
And Unilever is throwing huge sums at its key brands to maintain their allure with shoppers. New variations of its Comfort fabric conditioner and Axe deodorant helped push underlying sales 4.7% higher between April and June, for example.
On top of this, Unilever's weighty presence in exciting developing markets -- regions where like-for-like sales took off 8% during the last quarter -- should provide growth-hungry investors with added peace of mind.
Unilever is expected to generate earnings growth of 6% and 8% in 2016 and 2017, according to City estimates. While these figures may create heavy P/E ratios of 23.5 times and 21.7 times, I reckon the manufacturer's terrific long-term outlook merits such a premium.
Power up your growth portfolio
Arguably electricity transmission play National Grid (LSE: NG) is the ultimate stock for those seeking reliable earnings growth.
Electricity is, of course, one of those necessities we can't live without, giving National Grid the kind of earnings visibility other Footsie companies can only dream of. And while the likes of Centrica and SSE face increased regulatory scrutiny -- not to mention rising competition -- latest RIIO price controls are helping National Grid to limit capital wastage.
The City expects the network operator to print earnings expansion of 1% and 3% in the periods to March 2016 and 2017. And I reckon subsequent P/E ratios of 16.6 times and 16.2 times make National Grid a very-attractive stock for risk-averse investors.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Centrica. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.