ASPEN UP­DATE DIS­AP­POINTS

Finweek English Edition - - SIMON SAYS -

Aspen snuck through a trad­ing up­date just be­fore 6pm on Fri­day, 28 Au­gust, and it was a downer – the com­pany ex­pects head­line earn­ings per share (HEPS) to be only 10% to 15% higher. With its mid-year HEPS up 28%, it means a se­ri­ously weak sec­ond half of a l most no HEPS growth. In per­cent­age terms, the com­pany’s HEPS growth is typ­i­cally in the mid to high twen­ties, and that jus­ti­fies the high price-to-earn­ings ra­tio (P/ E) of 30 times. This time, its per­for­mance did not live up to ex­pec­ta­tions. That said, this could ei­ther be a one- off or it could be an in­di­ca­tion that the

Group CEO of Aspen com­pany is ma­tur­ing – as it gets larger, it is harder for it to con­tinue grow­ing at that level. The re­sults will tell us more, but those who’ve al­ways been Aspen fans shouldn’t give up – it’s still a great com­pany in a great space. Even if there is lower growth go­ing for­ward, Aspen is likely to be a great in­vest­ment – it just won’t dou­ble in value ev­ery year or so as it’s done re­cently. My only con­cern is how man­age­ment treats share­hold­ers – this is not the f irst time share­hold­ers have had it rough.

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