2 dirt cheap growth shares to buy today

Credit: 401(K) 2012

One of the biggest problems with growth shares is that they often change hands at exorbitant earnings multiples.

For example, two of my favourite growth shares are Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd. (ASX: DMP) and Aconex Ltd (ASX: ACX). Both exhibit extremely strong growth prospects and because of this are trading on trailing price-to-earnings ratios of 77 and 130, respectively.

Personally I think they are worthy of an investment even at those high multiples, but they do come with that extra bit of risk that might make them unsuitable for investors with a low tolerance for risk. When growth shares fail to live up to the market’s expectations there is a reasonably good chance their share price will come down with a thud.

So I went looking for growth shares that are trading at reasonable prices and two really caught my eye. In fact, compared to shares like Domino’s and Aconex, you might even call them dirt cheap. Here they are:

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API)

Investors may not be familiar with its name but there’s every chance they will have at some point in time shopped at one of the 425 stores within its growing store network.

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries is the the owner and operator of the popular Priceline, Soul Pattinson and Pharmacist Advice brands, as well as being a distributor to pharmacies across the country.

I was impressed with its half year results which saw the company deliver underlying net profit after tax growth of 18.1% to $25.3 million. This was driven largely by a strong performance from its Priceline brand, as well as a reduction in operating costs as a percentage of sales.

The company is expecting to open 20 stores this year and I fully expect it to be able to continue this rate of openings for at least the next few years. The market appears to agree and is very positive on its prospects. According to CommSec, analysts are expecting earnings growth of 22% per annum over the next two years.

At a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of just 16 I believe Australian Pharmaceutical Industries is both great value and a fantastic long-term investment.

Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD)

Ardent Leisure is another fast-growing company and operates a collection of well-known brands such as Goodlife Health Clubs, Dreamworld, and AMF Bowling.

Whilst these names will be familiar to many Australian investors, it is its little-known US-based brand Main Event which will be the real growth driver in the future in my opinion.

Main Event is a family entertainment centre providing activities such as bowling, laser tag, rock climbing, and mini golf. The majority of its centres are based in Texas, but it has successfully expanded outside the state leading management to believe the brand has the potential to roll out across the whole of the United States.

Its growth has been very impressive and currently accounts for a third of Ardent Leisure’s total revenue. The company has stated its intention to grow the number of its Main Event centres from 21 to 28 this year, which should be a boost to the top line.

Ardent Leisure produced a strong half year performance which saw revenue increase by 17% to $334 million. The bottom line performance was just as pleasing, with statutory profit increasing 20.4% to $22.7 million.

With a minimum of eight more Main Event centres scheduled to open in FY 2017, I believe the company can continue growing its earnings at this strong rate for a number of years. At just under 15x earnings I think Ardent Leisure would be a quality investment today.

Finally, there are three other growing shares which I believe could be just as great investments. Like API and Ardent Leisure, I think these three growth shares could have a great second half to the year.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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