I noticed a few weeks ago that moped delivery riders had started parking outside my local KFC. They're from Just Eat(LSE: JE), and their presence there made me appreciate the inroads this company has made into food deliveries.
Then I looked up my favourite Indian takeaway on Google to check the phone number. The food is great, but their own delivery service has always been painfully slow, and so I only ever order there when I'm in the mood to go and pick it up myself. And what do you know? Their Just Eat page was top of the search results.
Now, Just Eat shares two of the features that I think can be among the riskiest for private investors. Firstly, it's a new IPO, which only listed in April 2014 -- and companies rarely time their flotations to try to make the best profits for new investors. Secondly, it's a popular new growth stock, and I'm often railing about the overvaluations they can sometimes be pushed to.
A soaring success
But so far, the share price has more than doubled since the float, to 628p today. And as earnings have stormed ahead, early valuations that had me twitchy at the time have become a lot more reasonable -- the P/E touched 75 in 2015, but further growth forecasts would see that drop to around 27 by the end of 2018.
That's still close to double the FTSE 100's long-term average, but with Just Eat's prospects (coupled with an expected maiden dividend), I think I'm seeing good value.
I also think those prospects are being significantly enhanced by its early-mover advantage. In reality, very few early movers really do come to dominate, but I see its huge clientele (the firm boasts more than 20,000 sellers in its portfolio) and its successful SEO advantages (top slot on Google is to die for) as providing daunting barriers to entry.
Very cheap growth
I've been revisiting a favourite growth pick of mine recently, Taylor Wimpey(LSE: TW). The housebuilder's shares tanked after the Brexit vote, though I saw no sense in it at the time and reckoned it provided a great buying opportunity. The loss was fairly quickly recovered, but it still means the shares are pretty much unmoved over a two-year period now.
And at the same time, earnings growth has continued. Growth should slow between now and December 2018, but with the shares at 195p we're looking at a 2018 P/E of only around 9.5. And if that's not enough to tickle your fancy, there are hefty special dividends on the cards, which should provide yields of better than 7%.
At interim results time in early August, the company revealed a special payout for this year of 9.2p per share, with 10.4p pencilled in for next year, while confirming that its target "to return £1.3bn in dividends over [the] period 2016-18 will be successfully achieved."
That's not a company that's short of cash, for sure. In fact, at 2 July, the books showed net cash of £429m (up from £365m at 2016's year end), so we're looking at a strongly cash-generative investment here.
The fears, surely, are of a house market collapse which could seriously damage Taylor Wimpey's bottom line. But I'm not seeing it, not with the UK's chronic housing shortage almost certain to continue for a long time yet.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Just Eat. 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.