It's one of the busiest weeks of the year for first-half company results, and a great opportunity to check up on our existing shareholdings and to look for new candidates. Here are three that are worth closer scrutiny.
A great engineer?
GKN(LSE: GKN) makes major components, like driveshafts, fitted to many of the world's cars, in addition 07bn to aerospace components. As such, it's a relatively safe haven in these traumatic post-Brexit days, with the company's first half announcement telling us "there should be little [Brexit] impact on GKN over the medium term and 2016 is expected to be another year of growth".
Sales rose by 17% to £4,518m, with adjusted pre-tax profit up 12% to £344m and adjusted EPS up 7% to 15.5p, and the interim dividend was lifted 2% to 2.95p per share. Net debt did rise, however, from £769m at the end of December to £918m. Cost-cutting is expected to bring annualised savings of £30m from 2017, with a one-off £35m charge in the second half of this year.
GKN shares are up 2% to 296p as I write, and that puts them on a full-year P/E of just 10.8, dropping to 10 on 2017 forecasts, with expected dividend yields of a little over 3%. That looks good value to me, and I see an opportunity here to take advantage of a currently unloved sector.
Cheeky young bank
Challenger bank Virgin Money Holdings(LSE: VM) released first-half figures today, and they look pretty impressive, with underlying pre-tax profit climbing 53% to £101.8m. Net mortgage lending rose by 29% in the period, to £2.2bn, reflecting the bank's potential as a newcomer to the market. Credit card balances are up 31% with cash on deposit up 8%, and key liquidity measures all look very solid.
On the key Brexit worry, Virgin said it's "in a strong position to deal with a period of post-referendum uncertainty", experiencing "continued strong customer demand and no evidence of changes in customer behaviour".
Investors were pleased and pushed the shares up 7% to 262p, but they look anything but overpriced. They're valued at just 8.8 times forecast full-year earnings, dropping to only 7.5 on 2017 forecasts, with a 3% dividend yield predicted for 2017. I see a strong prospect in a depressed sector.
A super growth share
Shares in Fevertree Drinks(LSE: FEVR) have more than doubled in the past 12 months and have nearly five-bagged over the past two years. Today's first-half figures from "the world's leading supplier of premium carbonated mixers" provided an extra 5% boost, taking the price up to 842p.
The company reported a 69% rise in revenue to £40.6m with adjusted EBITDA up 72% to £12.4m and EPS up 83% to 8.12p. Net cash stood at £18.6m, up from £7.9m at the same stage last year, and the interim dividend was lifted by 97% to 1.54p per share (though full-year forecasts suggests a yield of only 0.5%).
The big question now is of valuation, with the shares valued at a heady 50 times predicted 2016 earnings, falling only as far as 44 on 2017 forecasts. Though we're looking at a strong company, it has all the look of an overblown growth share to me, and I can't help feeling there'll be a correction in the not-too-distant future.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of GKN. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.