Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in ASX (ASX:ASX). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
ASX's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. We can see that in the last three years ASX grew its EPS by 4.9% per year. That might not be particularly high growth, but it does show that per-share earnings are moving steadily in the right direction.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. Not all of ASX's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. ASX maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 7.5% to AU$1.1b. That's progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future ASX EPS 100% free.
Are ASX Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.
ASX top brass are certainly in sync, not having sold any shares, over the last year. But the bigger deal is that the Independent Non-Executive Director, Peter Nash, paid AU$84k to buy shares at an average price of AU$84.24.
The good news, alongside the insider buying, for ASX bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. With a whopping AU$79m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. This should keep them focused on creating long term value for shareholders.
While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. The cherry on top is that the CEO, Dominic Stevens is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like ASX, with market caps over AU$11b, is about AU$5.5m.
ASX offered total compensation worth AU$3.9m to its CEO in the year to June 2019. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Should You Add ASX To Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of ASX is that it is growing profits. 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. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if ASX is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of ASX, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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. Thank you for reading.