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Does Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Beach Energy (ASX:BPT). 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 Beach Energy

Beach Energy's Improving Profits

Over the last three years, Beach Energy has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don't think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. As a result, I'll zoom in on growth over the last year, instead. Like a firecracker arcing through the night sky, Beach Energy's EPS shot from AU$0.092 to AU$0.25, over the last year. You don't see 177% year-on-year growth like that, very often. The best case scenario? That the business has hit a true inflection point.

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. Beach Energy shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 28% to 39%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

ASX:BPT Income Statement, September 26th 2019

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

Are Beach Energy Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

Beach Energy insiders both bought and sold shares over the last twelve months, but they did end up spending AU$50k more on stock than they received from selling it. When you weigh that up, it is a mild positive, indicating increased alignment between shareholders and management. We also note that it was the Non Executive Director, Richard Richards, who made the biggest single acquisition, paying AU$74k for shares at about AU$1.48 each.

The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Beach Energy bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. To be specific, they have AU$40m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 0.6% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary 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, Matt Kay is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations between AU$2.9b and AU$9.4b, like Beach Energy, the median CEO pay is around AU$3.3m.

The Beach Energy CEO received AU$2.9m in compensation for the year ending June 2019. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Is Beach Energy Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Beach Energy's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. What's more insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. This quick rundown suggests that the business may be of good quality, and also at an inflection point, so maybe Beach Energy deserves timely attention. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Beach Energy by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Beach Energy, 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

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.