ASPEN UPDATE DISAPPOINTS
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.