For those seeking explosive earnings growth in recent years, industrial equipment provider Ashtead Group(LSE: AHT) would have proved a lucrative bet indeed.
The business has seen the bottom line swell at a compound annual growth rate of 48.9% during the past five years. And I am confident improving construction market conditions in the US, and particularly in the non-residential sub-sector, should keep Ashtead's bottom line trotting along nicely.
On top of this, its appetite for M&A provides plenty of ammunition to help it continue outperforming rivals. Just today the equipment specialist announced its Sunbelt US division had snapped up Pride Equipment Corporation for a cool $279m. The newly-acquired firm provides aerial work platforms to the construction, industrial and movie production industries in and around New York.
"This acquisition further enhances Sunbelt's position in the important New York City market," Ashtead chief executive Geoff Drabble said. He added: "Pride's focus on aerial equipment is complementary to Sunbelt's capabilities in a broader range of smaller and medium size equipment and there will be significant opportunities to cross-sell to the enlarged customer base."
The City expects Ashtead to keep its long-running growth story in business with earnings rises of 22% and 16% in the periods to April 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Such projections make the power rentals play brilliant value for money too. A P/E ratio of 16 times for the current period falls to 13.8 times for fiscal 2018, below the benchmark of 15 times that is widely regarded as attractive value for money.
And PEG readings come in at 0.7 for this year and 0.9 for the following period, below the value barometer of one and underlining Ashtead's exceptional value relative to its growth potential.
Like Ashtead, I believe lucrative foreign marketplaces should provide the key for exceptional earnings growth at WPP (LSE: WPP) in the near term and beyond.
WPP saw revenues hit a record £14.4bn during 2016 (up 17.6% year-on-year), the company enjoying strong growth across Europe and Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa and the Middle East.
And WPP continues to aggressively broaden its global wingspan to keep the sales rolling in. Indeed, the ad giant has secured a majority stake in Croatian creative agency Bruketa&Zinic, and has bought out Chinese digital products designer 3Ti Solutions, during the past month alone.
Against this backcloth the City expects earnings at the group to keep growing at a brisk double-digit rate, with expansion of 10% expected for the current year. And a slower-if-not-insignificant 7% rise is pencilled-in for 2018.
Furthermore, these readings also make WPP great value for money in my opinion, the company boasting P/E ratios of 13.8 times and 12.9 times for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
I reckon WPP's steadily-rising global presence, insatiable appetite for acquisitions, and improving position in the digital sphere all make it a great growth stock for long-term investors.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. 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.