Picking the right growth stocks could lead to rapid increases in wealth and the possibility of financial independence. Assuming recent performance can continue (which, alas, can never be guaranteed), here are two companies I think could move you closer to realising this goal.
On the mend
Holders of innovative flooring purveyor Victoria(LSE: VCP) will have enjoyed a superb rise in the shares over the last year despite the many political shocks that have played out. Although yesterday's dip will have hurt, they're still up significantly since last June.
April's full-year trading update from the small-cap was suitably bullish. Management said underlying pre-tax profits would be "comfortably ahead" of current market expectations -- some of which can be explained by the operational synergies achieved as a result of recent acquisitions in the UK and Australia being integrated into the company. According to management, the outlook for trading looks positive with further additions being hinted at, both in existing markets and in Europe.
Currently changing hands for 22 times earnings (assuming a near 200% jump in earnings per share is achieved in the current financial year), Victoria isn't particularly cheap, but it's made such great progress recently that it might just be worth paying up for. Levels of free cashflow, operating margins and returns on capital are all improving after a troubling few years. What's more, this valuation should drop to 17 times earnings in the next financial year if estimates of 26% growth in earnings can be met. There's no dividend to speak of but, with its growth credentials, Victoria was never likely to make an income investor's wishlist anyway.
My only real concerns for Victoria are the fairly steep rise in the amount of debt on its books and the possibility of the shares being hit by a general drop in sentiment towards this kind of company as consumer spending drops and Brexit negotiations commence.
Worth a gamble?
Despite wobbling at the end of last year, shares in £3.2bn cap software and services supplier to the gambling industry Playtech(LSE: PTEC) have still managed to climb over a third in value over the last 12 months.
In its most recent statement, Chairman Alan Jackson reflected that the company was performing strongly in 2017. Daily average revenues in its Gaming division have been supported by recent acquisitions (which look set to continue over the next few months), even if the company's contract with Sun Bingo had proved more challenging than expected. Playtech's Financials division was also performing in line with management expectations with Consolidated Financial Holdings -- acquired last November -- playing a role in this.
Right now, shares in the FTSE 250 constituent can be yours for just over 13 times earnings. That seems really rather reasonable for a company that's expected to post a 99% rise in earnings per share (EPS) for the current financial year, leaving it on a not-unreasonable price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 1.3. Should a further 10% growth in EPS be achieved in 2018, the shares will become even cheaper at 12 times earnings.
On top of this, the company boasts a robust balance sheet, great free cashflow, a 3.4% yield covered by profits and excellent operating margins.
With the market looking frothy, Playtech's offer of growth at a fair price makes it an appealing investment proposition.
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Paul Summers 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.