The Australian small cap sector is currently presenting better investment opportunities than the large cap market characterised by better returns without a significantly high associated price premium, according to a local fund manager.
“We are seeing a substantial amount of [higher] growth [in the small cap market]. So earnings forecasts for small caps is 20 per cent for the year ahead and about 8.7 per cent for 2021,” Clime head of investments Adrian Ezquerro said at a recent media roundtable.
The manager defines the small cap sector as those companies outside of the ASX200.
Ezquerro added the prices investors are paying for these opportunities are not significantly higher than those demanded by the remainder of the companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Interestingly the forward PE (price to earnings ratio) for the ASX100 is about 17 and for small caps outside the ASX100 we’re looking at 17.4. So you’re paying a very, very small premium and broadly it’s been tracking quite similarly in terms of multiples so you’re paying basically the same price for a far superior growth profile in mid and small caps,” he explained.
Ezquerro pointed out the growth opportunities for Australian small cap companies is currently extending beyond the domestic market.
“You’re seeing a lot of these niche leaders emerging with increasingly a dominant position here in the domestic market, but they have a product or service that is resonating in larger, much larger, offshore markets,” he said.
Small companies operating in the technology sector are examples of organisations enjoying this experience, Ezquerro noted.
“The technology space has businesses that have the product or service that can be taken to very large opportunity sets offshore and they are increasingly executing well.”
He revealed Clime’s investment approach was to identify small cap companies with this type of profile and buy stocks in them before they are discovered and discussed by the wider market.''