Aggregates company Breedon (LON: BREE) has a strong growth record and interim figures on 25 July will show if this is continuing. Peel Hunt believes that annual earnings per share growth should average high single digits over the next three years and it could be higher if the right acquisitions can be found.
However, there is a concern about what will happen to the stake owned by St James’s Place, which has already been cut from 6.4% to 2.9% in just over one month. This stake appears to have been inherited in the fund that was previously run by Woodford Investment Management.
Also, outgoing chairman Peter Tom sold 22 million shares at 72p each back in May. The stock overhang has hit the share price, which has fallen back to the level it was at the beginning of the year.
The figures are being published promptly. Revenues and pre-tax profit are expected to rise by up to one-fifth in the first half of 2019. Last year’s interim revenues were £378.4m and underlying pre-tax profit was £37.4m.
Last year’s Lagan acquisition will contribute a full six months in the six months to June 2019 and group performance will be boosted by a strong Irish market. In contrast, the UK construction market has been weak.
Breedon is one of the largest companies quoted on AIM and has a market capitalisation of £1bn. Net debt was £310.7m at the end of 2018 and this could reduce by around one-fifth by the end of this year.
The business is UK-focused, so it is dependent on the health of the UK market for its growth. Full year expectations are currently relatively modest with pre-tax profit set to improve from £91.7m to £102m, although earnings growth will be modest.
At 60.7p, the shares are trading on 12 times prospective 2019 earnings, falling to eleven next year when earnings growth is set to be in double figures. This is attractive for anyone taking a long-term view, although short-term construction demand and stock overhang concerns could hamper progress for the time being.