LONDON -- The business media dedicates a lot of space to complaining about the U.K. economy. Yet profit growth of more than 15% is expected at 35 FTSE 100 companies. Here are three of the FTSE 100's fastest forecast-growers.
British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco is expected to report 26.9% earnings growth for 2012. The cigarette manufacturer is then expected to follow this with 9.1% earnings-per-share growth in 2013.
This is not growth that will be coming from a low base. In the last five years, BATS has managed to increase EPS by an average of 10.1% per annum.
There are reasons to fear that this growth may not continue in the long term. First, it seems governments worldwide are placing ever more restrictions on cigarette marketing and sales. This will make further growth harder to earn. Second, BATS has recently reported a decline in cigarette sales. That should concern anyone paying today's asking price of 16.2 times 2012 forecasts.
BG Group (NASDAQOTH: BRGYY)
Shares in BG Group have suffered in recent months, declining from 1,300 pence to 1,100 pence following a trading update last October.
BG is focused on oil and gas exploration. Currently, the business is approximately 70% gas and 30% oil. This mix is expected to become more oily as Brazilian production is ramped up over the next five years. As BG and its partners add more production capacity to their operations in the Santos basin, earnings will grow fast.
Earnings growth of 15.2% is expected for 2013, followed by another 19.7% of growth in 2014. Against these forecasts, the shares look attractive, trading on just 11.2 times consensus estimates for 2014.
Prudential is an insurance business with a focus on the Asian market. Along with its insurance operations, the company also owns investment house M&G.
According to the consensus of analyst forecasts, Prudential will report a 19.2% increase in profit with its final results. Profit is expected to rise another 11.4% in 2013. The shares currently trade at 13.7 times the 2012 forecast. That's on a par with most FTSE 100 companies. A dividend yield of 3.1% is expected for 2013. The yield is also about average for the index.
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