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Sunday share tips: Croda, RPS Group

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Sunday 02 Apr 2017

Sunday share tips: Croda, RPS Group

(ShareCast News) - Croda is back in vogue, thanks to Brexit and a big pick-up in deal-making in its sectors and investors should 'Buy', The Sunday Times´s Inside the City column said.
Indeed, chances were one of its rivals might be tempted to do the same, John Collingridge said, citing analysts at Exane BNP Paribas.

Chemicals-makers had long ago ceased to dominate the field on the FTSE 100, with Croda having been demoted from the top flight index back in 2013.

Yet the company's focus on margins instead of revenues meant it generated healthy amounts of cash and its £230m in dividend payments was nothing to be socffed at.

Furthermore, Brexit had put a sping back in its step, boosting the value of its overseas revenues, which accounted for 95% of the total. The resulting market value of £4.7bn also made its re-inclusion in the Footsie a real possibility.

Yes, the company´s shares are expensive, but so too are the high-tech chemicals it purveyed to the likes of L'Oréal and Estée Lauder, allowing their likes to charge small fortunes for their face-lifting potions, Collingridge pointed out.

Simply put, East Yorkshire-based Croda has pricing power. In turn, its racy share price had likely helped keep predators at bay.

Its falling sales, off 1.6% last year if you strip out foreign exchange and acquisitions were a sore point, amid a still shrinking topline at its industrial chemicals arm, but revenues did turn up in the latest quarter.

Likewise, boss Steve Foots had been busy with small acquisitions but nothing transformative.

"Foots may need to dust off his chequebook to keep the vultures at bay. Buy," Collingridge said.

RPS Group has weathered many economic downturns since listing in 1987 and has always come out stronger for it and now is no different, The Mail on Sunday's Midas column said.

The downturn in Oil&Gas since 2014 has taken its toll on the shares, but the company has reorganised its operations, cutting down and redeploying staff from that unit to others and refocusing on burgeoning demand for infrastructure in the US and Australia.

Management´s focus on the dividend also makes it a good stock for income-seekers, Joanne Hart at The Daily Mail said.

Oxfordshire-based RPS is now split along geogroaphical lines, Europe, North America and Australia Asia Pacific and management head count has been pared down.

In 2016, profits were little changed at £51m and the dividend kept at 9.7p per share.

Analysts expect profits will rise to £53m for this year and £60m next, with the dividend payout for 2017 seen at 10.0p, rising to 10.2p in 2018.

"RPS has been through tough times and has proved it can bounce back. The company is well run and should profit from long-term trends, such as a growing need for improved roads, railways and airports, as well as greater investment in water and renewable energy."

Buy, Midas said.


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