Why Transurban Group could be the blue-chip king

Credit: Steffen Ramsaier

One of the best-performing blue-chip shares on the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) in the last 12 months has been toll road operator Transurban Group (ASX: TCL).

Despite trading on a sky-high earnings multiple during this time its share price has still managed to rise over 23% compared to the 2% decline in the benchmark index. It doesn’t come as a surprise considering the toll road king has the rights to operate a number of vital toll roads in Australia for at least the next two decades

As Australia’s population increases I believe roads will become even more congested, which will result in ever-increasing demand for Transurban’s toll roads. This was evident in its March quarter update, which revealed a 13% year-over-year rise in toll revenue.

The great news for shareholders is that the June quarter has proven to be no different. Today the company released its figures for the quarter and the results were positive.

Thanks partly to the shift of Easter into the March quarter this year, proportional toll revenue increased by 17.5% from the prior corresponding period to $513 million.

Its Melbourne roads saw a 7.7% increase in proportional toll revenue from a small 0.6% increase in average daily traffic. Although average workday traffic decreased 0.9%, average weekend/public holiday traffic increased 3.9% during the period.

Over in Sydney there was a 13.4% increase in proportional toll revenue from a 6.5% increase in average daily traffic. Its Sydney roads saw increases in both average workday traffic and average weekend/public holiday traffic of 5.5% and 8.2%, respectively.

Proportional toll revenue on Transurban’s Brisbane roads increased 35.7% thanks to a 25.8% increase in average daily traffic. Two recent additions meant average workday traffic increased 25.2% and average weekend/public holiday traffic increased 25.4% for the quarter.

Finally, over in the United States the company’s Greater Washington Area roads saw an increase in proportional toll revenue of 43.8% on a 7.4% increase in average daily traffic.

Overall, another strong result from the toll road operator. Judging by the market’s reaction today it would appear as though it was largely expected. Its shares are just about flat today following the announcement.

At 101x trailing earnings its shares are definitely on the expensive side compared to its peer Macquarie Atlas Roads Limited (ASX: MQA) and the rest of the S&P/ASX 200. But with such a strong portfolio of toll roads, I believe the company is positioned for growth for a long time to come which justifies paying the premium.

Whilst I would class its shares as a buy today, investors might want to hold off in the hope of a pull back in its share price in the future.

If you do want to invest in Transurban I would highly recommend you check to see if you own one of these three rotten ASX shares first. Each could be doing more harm than good to your portfolio and might be best being swapped out.

3 Rotten Shares to Sell, and 1 to Buy Today

After a double-digit rally for the ASX since 2016 lows, investors should be on high alert. You'll find a full rundown below of 3 shares we think you should avoid today plus one top pick worth buying, even if the market turns south and the RBA keeps rates at an "emergency low." Simply click here to uncover these stocks.

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.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.