For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in RGC Resources (NASDAQ:RGCO). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
How Quickly Is RGC Resources Increasing Earnings Per Share?
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. RGC Resources managed to grow EPS by 10% per year, over three years. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). RGC Resources maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 3.8% to US$68m. That's progress.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
RGC Resources isn't a huge company, given its market capitalization of US$230m. That makes it extra important to check on its balance sheet strength.
Are RGC Resources Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.
In the last twelve months RGC Resources insiders spent US$41k on stock; good news for shareholders. This might not be a huge sum, but it's well worth noting anyway, given the complete lack of selling.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that RGC Resources insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold US$15m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. That amounts to 6.4% of the company, demonstrating a degree of high-level alignment with shareholders.
Is RGC Resources Worth Keeping An Eye On?
As I already mentioned, RGC Resources is a growing business, which is what I like to see. On top of that, we've seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. Of course, just because RGC Resources is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
The good news is that RGC Resources is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... with insider buying in the last three months!
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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