Here’s why APN Outdoor Group Ltd shares are going gangbusters today

Credit: Franciso Diez

Back in August the shares of outdoor advertising company APN Outdoor Group Ltd (ASX: APO) plunged an incredible 33% in a single day after the company downgraded its full year profit guidance.

For FY 2016 the company had forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to come in between $84 million and $88 million, but reduced expectations for EBITDA to between $79 million and $84 million.

The downgrade in profit was blamed on weaker-than-predicted demand between September and November due to an extended federal election and the after effects of the Olympic Games.

Well it turns out that management got their forecasts wrong again. Assuming current market conditions continue through to the end of the year, the company now expects EBITDA to be in the range of $84 million to $86 million for FY 2016.

According to the release actions that had been implemented to improve sales execution have delivered favourable results.

The company has seen a solid recovery in both media revenues and bookings. Positive news is that bookings are now tracking double-digit growth compared to the prior corresponding period.

Considering its shares had fallen 43% since the August announcement, it comes as no surprise to learn that they have gone gangbusters this morning. In early trade APN Outdoor’s shares surged as much as 24% higher. At the time of writing they have dropped back a touch and are now 17% higher at $5.40.

The shares of fellow advertiser oOh!Media Ltd (ASX: OML) also plunged in the aftermath of APN Outdoor’s profit downgrade. Thankfully for shareholders its shares have also bounced higher today by 11%.

So is APN Outdoor a buy?

At just under 17x forecast full year earnings its shares look reasonable value now, especially in comparison to oOh!Media, which trades at 25x forecast full year earnings.

However, I would prefer to wait and see if the momentum in bookings is carried over into FY 2017 before making an investment. Although it looks set to have a positive finish to the year, the fact that the company has changed its profit guidance twice in under three months is not something that fills me with a great deal of confidence.

Instead I would recommend investors take a look at these high quality shares with strong and predictable earnings growth.

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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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