It's always reassuring when a company updates the market saying that current trading is in line with market expectations. That's exactly what recruitment agency Staffline Group(LSE: STAF) did this morning at the half-way point of the current trading year, but the directors went further, declaring that the firm is on course to burst through its £1bn revenue target during the current year.
Staffline has been around since 1986 and operates in the UK recruitment market specialising in the areas of logistics, e-tail, manufacturing, driving, food processing and white-collar recruitment. As well as supplying and managing workforces, the firm reckons it uses training and business improvement techniques to drive increased levels of efficiency so that client organisations gain commercial advantage.
Such quality control seems to have been a hit with customers judging by the company's record on earnings per share (EPS), which have shot up more than 200% over the past four years. Looking forward, City analysts following the firm expect EPS to lift 3% this year and 4% during 2018.
Meanwhile, we can pick up the shares on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just under 11 for 2018 at the current share price around 1,315p. The forward dividend yield runs at 2.3% with the payout covered a comfortable-looking four times by anticipated earnings. The valuation seems undemanding and the directors' cautious approach to dividend payments strikes me as a good thing. After all, the staff recruitment business is notoriously cyclical and a downturn in the economy could pull the rug from under Staffline's profitability and cash flow down the line.
That said, there is no denying the firm's attractive metrics for the time being, and directors reckon demand for the firm's services remains robust despite the Brexit vote. We'll get a further update on 26 July with the interim results.
Back in May, Eurocell(LSE: ECEL) updated the market on trading for the first four months of the year. The firm makes and recycles PVC window, door and roofline products and enjoyed a positive start to 2017 with trading in line with expectations. City analysts following it predict growth in EPS of 10% for 2017 and 8% for 2018. It seems the company is firing on all cylinders, which could be one reason that well-known fund manager Neil Woodford's fund is listed as a major shareholder, a position consistent with his recent bullishness on UK-facing cyclicals.
Eurocell is facing raw material price pressure, particularly for resin, and the directors' solution is to push up selling prices. But I don't think such a move is likely to hold sales down because inflation is expected by most people these days. Indeed, the firm is rolling out its offering and had opened 10 new sites by the time of the May update, with 30 new branches planned for the whole of 2017.
We'll get a further update with the half-year results around 2 August, but in the meantime, you can pick up some of the shares on a forward P/E rating just under 11 for 2018 and collect a forward dividend yield running at almost 4%.
Kevin Godbold 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.