2 long-term growth stocks for the intelligent investor

Credit: Bertalan Szürös

A number of Australia’s favourite companies have recently revealed forecasts for limited growth next year. Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)? Close to zero. Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL)? Nada.

Even tech stock Carsales.Com Ltd (ASX: CAR) has been sold off recently, as the market believes single-digit growth will be the norm for it going forwards.

Here are two smaller companies still in their growth phase, that are a much more attractive prospect for growth investors today:

Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) is a profitable liver cancer treatment provider currently looking to expand its therapy into other types of cancer. To that end, the company has a number of trials underway, although Research & Development (R&D) expenditure is fairly modest. Treatment dose sales are currently growing at around 15% per annum, and continued sales growth appears likely due to new regulatory approvals and increasing clinical evidence. Sirtex is also considering expanding by acquisition, although I personally am wary of the risk of Sirtex ‘diworseifying’ or overpaying with this approach.

Sirtex is priced by the market at 30 times last year’s earnings, which is a fairly lofty price. We’ve seen a number of companies including Carsales, CSL Limited (ASX: CSL), and iSentia Group Ltd (ASX: ISD) tumble from similar P/Es after growth slowed. Sirtex will not be immune, but it’s tough to find a company with double-digit growth and a clean balance sheet.

A2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX:A2M) sells milk with a2 proteins only, which it claims is better for digestion than regular milk which contains both a1 and a2 proteins. Scientific research into evaluating this claim is underway and appears to support it so far. A2 generated most of its initial success in Australia and New Zealand, although recent expansion into China with baby formula has been responsible for the bulk of the company’s recent, rapid profit growth.

A2 is also making inroads into two other large target markets in the US and the UK, which should lead to respectable profit growth over the next few years – assuming all goes well. Like Sirtex, a2 Milk comes with a price tag that is currently more than 40 times last year’s earnings, although growth remains strong. Also like Sirtex, it carries no debt and has $69 million in cash.

Foolish takeaway

Buying shares in Sirtex and a2 Milk is an implicit bet that both companies can grow profits enough to justify today’s prices. With long growth runways ahead and sterling balance sheets, each company appears to have reasonable odds of success. Investors should be sure not to overpay, but here even the market is helping you, with A2 and Sirtex shares volatile recently.

Big, Fat, Dividends

This company's dividend is almost the stuff of legends. Its reliable cash flows support a high payout ratio, and the company's stash of franking credits are the cherry on the top of the dividend cake. Based on the last 12-months of dividends, shares are offering a fully-franked 6.5% yield, which grosses up to a whopping 9.3%, when those franking credits are included.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill owns shares of A2 Milk and Sirtex Medical Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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