Here’s why SG Fleet Group Ltd shares sank 15% today

The shares of salary packaging and fleet management services company SG Fleet Group Ltd (ASX: SGF) sank like a stone in early trade following the release of its annual general meeting presentation.

Shortly after the market opened this morning its shares plunged lower by almost 15% to $3.58. Thankfully though for shareholders it has recovered slightly now and is down 6.5% to $3.90.

Today’s sell off appears to be related to management’s guidance for the year ahead. According to CommSec analysts were predicting earnings growth of approximately 36% this year.

But in today’s presentation it was revealed that the company is anticipating net profit after tax and excluding amortisation to come in 20% to 25% higher than in FY 2016 at between $64.8 million and $67.5 million.

Although you might think 19x full year earnings is cheap for its shares considering the forecast level of growth, the market generally values the companies in this industry like McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX: MMS) and Smartgroup Corporation Ltd (ASX: SIQ) cautiously.

This is likely to be down to the regulatory risks that they are exposed to. At present the government is supportive of their services, but we all know how quickly governments can change their minds.

The sector average price to earnings ratio at present is just 13x earnings, which puts SG Fleet at a significant premium to its peers.

However, management appears confident that it is positioned well in the Australian, UK, and New Zealand markets for sustained growth. Furthermore the company looks set to benefit from a number of key contract wins, as well as synergies from recent acquisitions.

Because of this I do expect it to continue to grow its earnings at a quicker pace than its rivals, which may just about justify the premium.

At the current price I wouldn’t class SG Fleet as cheap, but it does look reasonable value and might be worthy of an investment. But due to the regulatory risks it could face further down the line, I would suggest limiting it to just a small part of your portfolio.

Alternatively investors could take a look at buying shares in these rapidly growing companies. Each has the potential to grow significantly in the future and might prove to be a great investment at the current price.

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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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