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Should You Be Adding Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) To Your Watchlist Today?

Simply Wall St

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 Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR). 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. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.

View our latest analysis for Saracen Mineral Holdings

How Quickly Is Saracen Mineral Holdings Increasing Earnings Per Share?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Saracen Mineral Holdings has grown EPS by 51% per year, over the last three years. Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but like a lotus blooming from a murky pond, it sparks joy for the wary stock pickers.

I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. The good news is that Saracen Mineral Holdings is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.3 percentage points to 23%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

ASX:SAR Income Statement, September 4th 2019

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Saracen Mineral Holdings's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Saracen Mineral Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. So it is good to see that Saracen Mineral Holdings insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they hold AU$26m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 0.8% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Saracen Mineral Holdings with market caps between AU$1.5b and AU$4.7b is about AU$2.5m.

The Saracen Mineral Holdings CEO received AU$1.9m in compensation for the year ending June 2019. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Is Saracen Mineral Holdings Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Saracen Mineral Holdings's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Big growth can make big winners, so I do think Saracen Mineral Holdings is worth considering carefully. If you think Saracen Mineral Holdings might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.

Although Saracen Mineral Holdings certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.