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Sunday share tips: Billington Holdings, Henry Boot

Sun 23 April 2023 17:02 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - The Financial Mail on Sunday's Midas column touted shares of steel group Billington Holdings.

The tipster highlighted the company's move into multiple high-growth fields, ranging from movie studios to renewable energies, data centres or online warehouses.

Among its green projects was the recent construction of energy-from-waste plants, including that at Newhurst, which was expected to have the capacity to generate enough energy for 80,000 homes per year from the 350,000 tons of household waste that it would recycle.

It had also become recognised for its engineering know-how and high-quality workmanship.

Billington's revenues rose by 5% across 2022 to reach 87m, alongside a more than fourfold jump in profits to 5.8m, while the order book had more than doubled since the year before.

Its dividend payout was also boosted, by over five-fold to 15.5p.

Brokers were anticipating a 30% jump in sales in 2023 to reach 115m, while profits were pegged to rise to 8m and the dividend per share to 20.0p.

"Billington is a well-run, highly regarded business, specialising in robust sectors of the economy," Midas joined.

"At 4.15, the shares should go far - and the dividend provides an attractive income stream too."

The Sunday Times's Lucy Tobin tipped shares of Henry Boot to readers, highlighting its long and successful track record, conservative management and valuation.

Interest rate hikes by the Bank of England had triggered an exit from UK property.

Furthermore, the fact that the 135-year old company derived approximately half of its profits from land sales meant that it as exposed to the vagaries of the housing market and its prospects were "unpredictable", Tobin said.

But its 12% gearing meant that the Henry Boot's foundations were strong.

Indeed, Henry Boot's sales hald risen by nearly half in 2022 and its profit before tax had jumped by nearly a third despite a hit to the valuation of its investment property portfolio.

To back up her arguments she pointed to recent research from Panmure Gordon, which had conceded that there was "a degree of uncertainty" - as for any cyclical outfit exposed to construction - even while noting that the valuation was "attractive".

"The Boot family stake has ensured slow but steady growth and the shares have generated an average 10.5 per cent annual return over the past 20 years, in contrast to the FTSE All-Share's 7.9 per cent," she said.

"Despite the cyclical tolls of construction and housing, that record looks secure: buy."

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