Today I am looking at two alcohol giants expected to deliver splendid shareholder returns.
Fermenting fantastic sales growth
I believe that pub operator Marstons (LSE: MARS) is a terrific bet for those seeking solid earnings growth as drinker demand bubbles higher.
Shares were recently up 5% in Tuesday business after the firm released yet another positive trading update. Marstons advised that sales hit record levels for the fourth consecutive year during the Yuletide period, with sales on Christmas Day breaching the 3m marker for the first time. Total like-for-like sales grew 3% in the 16 weeks to January 23rd, speeding up from 2.5% a year before.
As well as reaping the fruits of surging demand for its established and freshly-introduced ales, the brewers pub restructuring drive is also providing meaty rewards. And promisingly Marstons plans to open another 20 pub-restaurants and five lodges in the current financial year alone.
The number crunchers expect Marstons to enjoy a 6% earnings rise in the year to June 2016, resulting in a very attractive P/E rating of 12.7 times. And when you also factor in a market-bashing dividend yield of 4.2%, I believe the firm is a great bet for value-hungry growth seekers.
Ride the drinks juggernaut
Fears over the impact of emerging market cooling on drinkers spending power continues to hamper investor appetite for Diageo (LSE: DGE). On top of this, the drinks giants battle against adverse currency movements is also adding a further layer of worry for the market.
These concerns saw Diageos share price dribble 7% lower during the course of 2015 in oft-choppy trading. But I believe investors are missing a trick here as the companys long-term profits potential remains strong, regardless of the prospect of any near-term revenue pressures.
Few companies can boast the terrific brand power enjoyed across Diageos product portfolio. Labels like Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka, Guinness stout and Baileys liquor gives the London firm market-leading positions in a plethora of beverage sub-segments.
And the power of these brands helped by Diageos vast investment in marketing helps the business to lift prices even in times of wavering consumer spending clout, providing the firm with terrific earnings visibility regardless of the wider economic climate.
On top of this, Diageo clearly sees the resplendent rewards on offer from developing regions and remains committed to bolstering its exposure to these territories. The company increased its stake in both Guinness Nigeria and Guinness Ghana during the autumn, while Diageo also acquired Mexicos Tequila Don Julio and took control of South Africas United National Breweries in 2015.
The City expects Diageo to bounce from earnings declines of 7% in both 2014 and 2015 with a modest 1% earnings bounce in the 12 months to June 2016. Sure, a subsequent P/E rating of 21.3 times may appear a tad heady at face value. But I believe the quality of Diageos market-leading labels, not to mention expanding global presence, fully justifies this slight premium.