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Ebiquity’s profit margin sacrifice
Marketing analytics business Ebiquity (EBQ:AIM) is sacrificing short-term margin performance as it invests for future growth. Earnings are forecast to decline near-term, perhaps explaining why the shares are trading close to a two-year low of 102.5p.
Contrarian investors may wish to consider taking a position now while the shares are depressed. The best time to buy something is when others are fearful, which makes Ebiquity look interesting at present.
The benefits of the company’s investment plan may take time to be realised, but Numis analyst Paul Richards says the plan will leave the group ‘well-positioned to deliver double-digit earnings per share growth’ in the future.
The bulk of the investment is going towards Ebiquity’s Media Value Measurement and Marketing Performance Optimisation divisions. They help companies understand the effectiveness of their marketing and advertising and to make promotions have greater impact in the future.
In the peak year of the investment programme (2018), margins are expected to be around the 12-13% mark versus the current level of 17%.
We like companies that invest for the future and believe the short-term hit to earnings is already reflected in the stock rating. It trades on a mere 10.4 times 2017 forecast earnings. Buy at 102.5p.