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Does Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than 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.

View our latest analysis for Ameris Bancorp

How Quickly Is Ameris Bancorp Increasing Earnings Per Share?

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. It certainly is nice to see that Ameris Bancorp has managed to grow EPS by 22% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.

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. I note that Ameris Bancorp's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. While we note Ameris Bancorp's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 35% to US$502m. That's a real positive.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

NasdaqGS:ABCB Income Statement, September 11th 2019

Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Ameris Bancorp.

Are Ameris Bancorp Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

In the last twelve months Ameris Bancorp insiders spent US$48k 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.

Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Ameris Bancorp is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$154m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!

Should You Add Ameris Bancorp To Your Watchlist?

You can't deny that Ameris Bancorp has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. Not only that, but we can see that insiders both own a lot of, and are buying more, shares in the company. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Once you've identified a business you like, the next step is to consider what you think it's worth. And right now is your chance to view our exclusive discounted cashflow valuation of Ameris Bancorp. You might benefit from giving it a glance today.

The good news is that Ameris Bancorp 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

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.