Can the Burson Group Ltd share price hit $6 in 2016?


Bapcor Limited has proven to have been a remarkable investment since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2014.

The automotive aftermarket parts business, formerly known as Burson Group Ltd (ASX: BAP), debuted on the ASX in April of that year at a price of $1.82. Although the shares briefly dipped below that price, it’s been all uphill since then. The shares closed at $5.58 on Wednesday, representing a remarkable 207% gain in just over two years.

What’s more, you can see in the chart below the smooth sailing for investors, without any significant dips or turns during that time.

Source: ASX

Source: ASX

A multi-talented pony

Bapcor’s shares did hit a high of $5.71 late last month as investors flocked to the ASX’s more defensive stocks in the wake of Brexit.

As far as defensive shares go, Bapcor fits the bill. Given that it supplies many of the parts to mechanics for the repair and servicing of older vehicles, it’s fair to assume its products would be in high demand during times of uncertainty. After all, consumers tend to hold onto their older cars for longer if they begin fretting about the economy or their own position of employment, deferring the purchase of a new vehicle until they are confident conditions have improved.

While the uncertainty of the Brexit still lingers, the panic has largely subsided which may explain the pullback in Bapcor’s share price.

However, it would be wrong to assume that Bapcor is a one-trick pony. While it does possess defensive characteristics, the company is also generating strong growth with plenty still left in the tank.

The company’s growth strategy covers areas across the supply chain, although its core focus is trade distribution. It had 143 stores as at 19 April, 2016, and is targeting 200 stores by 2021. It will likely look to achieve this predominantly through acquisitions of individual workshops which it can buy at a reasonable price – a strategy that has driven much of its growth to today.

What’s more, it recently acquired the automotive division of Metcash Limited (ASX: MTS) for a reasonable price. From this Bapcor also expects to be able to extract a number of synergies. For instance, it expects to achieve a working capital benefit of $6 million by the 2019 financial year (FY19) as well as up to $12.5 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) benefits.

Will Bapcor hit $6 in 2016?

While much of this benefit has likely already been recognised in Bapcor’s share price, it doesn’t seem too late for investors to buy shares in Bapcor.

At its investor day presentation in April, Bapcor guided for net profit after tax (NPAT) in the range of $41.5 million to $43 million, and said it was likely to be at the upper end. Let’s be a little conservative though and assume NPAT of $42.5 million is achieved.

That level of earnings would represent earnings per share (EPS) of roughly 17.3 cents, putting the shares on a projected price-earnings ratio of roughly 32x. That isn’t cheap, per se, but it also doesn’t seem too unreasonable for a company that is growing revenue and earnings at such a strong clip.

In other words, you probably wouldn’t back the truck up to buy a huge number of shares at this price, but you shouldn’t turn your nose at the idea of starting a position, either.

As it continues to improve margins and scalability, EPS should continue to grow. Indeed, according to Yahoo! Finance, the average forecast of four analysts is for 23 cents EPS in FY17, which would give the company a much more compelling price-earnings ratio of 24.3x.

Of course, there are risks which investors need to consider. Aside from the fact that the shares aren’t necessarily a bargain at this price, the company could also overpay for some of its future acquisitions, while it may also not be able to extract all the synergies that it hopes to from its past acquisitions.

Nevertheless, a strong result when the company reports its earnings next month could be enough to push the shares over the $6 mark, although Foolish investors should know that trying to ‘time the market’ is a mug’s game. Regardless of whether or not the shares hit $6 this year, it does seem likely they have further to climb in the long-run.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Bapcor. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Bapcor. 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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