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2 of my favourite small-caps for your watch list

Skydive the Beach Group Ltd (ASX: SKB) is a skydiving company with over 50% market share in Australia. Tandem skydives are increasingly popular with tourists and constitute the majority of the group’s sales. The company is rapidly acquiring independent skydiving businesses in Australia and New Zealand and is also growing organically with booking numbers up 18.9% at existing drop zones for the first half of 2016.

Tourism is booming in Australia partly due to a weak Aussie dollar, but also because the emerging Asian middle classes are causing visitor numbers to swell. Skydive the Beach is benefiting from this trend and Asian customers rose from 17.2% to 24% as a percentage of all customers in the Australian business between 2014 and 2015. China led the way making up 7.9% of all jumps, up from 3.2% in the prior year.

The company has a simple but effective growth strategy. It acquires independent businesses at low multiples and then replaces their planes to increase capacity per flight, reduce maintenance and fuel costs, and improve flight times. This leads to an overall increase in capacity and improved profits.

Skydive the Beach currently has sites in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the South Island of New Zealand. Geographical diversification reduces the seasonality of the business as differing climates balance out. As market leader, Skydive the Beach also benefits from economies of scale in its marketing, sales and back office functions.

The company is forecasting $13.5 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for 2016. However, investors should note that this is quite a capital intensive business due the requirement to maintain planes and so depreciation is significant.

In June the company announced the acquisition of Skydive Wanaka in New Zealand for $9.7 million, roughly 4.5 times Wanaka’s 2016 EBITDA which should guarantee profit growth in 2017. The company has a market capitalisation of $206.1 million and a had $4.4 million of net debt at 31 December 2015.

Another company hoping to sell its products to the huge and growing Chinese middle classes is BWX Ltd (ASX: BWX). The company is a vertically integrated supplier of branded natural skincare and haircare products. Its flagship brand, Sukin, makes up more than 70% of company sales and is Australia’s top natural skincare brand in pharmacies.

Sales of skincare products in Australian pharmacies grew a hefty 16.8% in the 12 months to 13 December 2015. However, Sukin is the leading brand in the “natural” skincare segment which grew by an even more impressive 38% over the same period.

BWX is targeting the lucrative “Masstige” market segment with its Sukin range. At an average price point of $11.30, Sukin delivers 50% gross margins, whilst offering a high quality yet affordable range of products to consumers.

Sales of Sukin in Australia were $20.6 million in the year to August 2015 representing just 6.6% of the total market. International sales were just $4.6 million in 2015 and so there is the potential for significant growth both domestically and overseas.

In China, BWX plans to establish two flagship stores on both JD.com and Tmall, two of the world’s largest online retailers. The UK represents another large and untapped market and in March,the company announced that leading UK health retailer Holland and Barrett would be stocking its Sukin Oil Balancing and Supergreens products in its 700 stores.

The Supergreens product is new to the Sukin range highlighting a further growth avenue for the company. For an outlay of just $500,000, BWX recently expanded its production capacity by 50% which will enable it to expand its product range as well as meet growing demand.

In February, BWX announced that it would be acquiring distributor Lightening Brokers which is responsible for 50% of Sukin distribution to Australian pharmacies. The purchase price was $11 million which is reasonable given the business is expected to deliver EBITDA of $3 million in 2016. More importantly it extends the company’s vertical integration strategy and strengthens its grip over the Sukin brand.

BWX has guided for $12.4 million net profit after tax this year (NPAT), up from $9.6 million in 2015 and has minimal debt. The stock has a current market capitalisation of $472.6 million which isn’t cheap, but BWX looks like a high-quality business given it owns the brand leader in a large and rapidly expanding market.

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Motley Fool contributor Matt Brazier 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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