...struggling to find value in terms of investment and my commentary. So in brief today we have had results / updates from a number of reasonable quality Companies, although none of them could be described as cheap or good value I would say.
For example in the personal care area we have had results from PZ Cussons (PZC) who mainly do soap and also Croda International (CRDA) which is a chemical company supplying speciality ingredients to the personal care industry. Both fine companies with PZC for example having increased their dividend this year for the 42nd year in a row despite flat profits and earnings against tough trading conditions which they expect to continue. As a result this one trades on 19 to 20x with a yield of just over 2% which is towards the expensive end of things as far as I'm concerned.
Similarly Croda which has even higher returns on its assets and decent margins has reported interims today and continued a pattern of steady growth albeit at a slightly slower rate of around 5% on this occasion. However this one also trades on around 20x with an indicated yield of 2.78% for this year. However, I note that their dividend policy is for a 40 to 50% pay out which would indicate a dividend of more like 68p rather than the 78.8p currently forecast, so maybe analysts are factoring in a special dividend that I'm not aware of? So again a good quality company but at a full price I would say.
Meanwhile staying in the Chemicals sector we have also had results from Victrex plc (VCT) is a United Kingdom-based company engaged in the manufacture of polymer solutions. The Company's products are used in smartphones, oil and gas equipment, medical devices, aeroplanes and cars. This is another quality outfit which is struggling to grow this year against a few headwinds in some of its business areas but it also has a record of fairly consistent growth and decent margins and returns on capital. The rating is again fairly full, but maybe slightly more interesting on around 20 to 18x with a 2.7% to 3% yield depending on if you use September 2015 or 2016 numbers.
Finally in the Financials area we have had results from IG Group (IGG) which as expected after the Swiss Franc situation earlier in the year have come in slightly down as a result. Despite this they have maintained the dividend as promised although this does break a long run of growth as they have now raised the payout ratio to 70%. Thus they will be relying on returns from the investments they are currently making in expanding into stock broking and overseas markets plus further progress in the UK to deliver growth in the future. Continuing the trend this one is on 18x next years earnings but with a higher yield of 3.8% reflecting the lower cover and assuming they return to growth as expected.
So there you go some good quality Companies for you today, but all looking a bit on the expensive side. I guess that's what you get when you have been in a steadily rising market for six years or so - cheap quality stocks become harder to find.