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Does IES Holdings (NASDAQ:IESC) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

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  • IESC

Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like IES Holdings (NASDAQ:IESC), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

Check out our latest analysis for IES Holdings

How Fast Is IES Holdings Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Who among us would not applaud IES Holdings's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 49%, compound, over the last three years? That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.

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). While we note IES Holdings's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 29% to US$1.5b. 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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.

Are IES Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own IES Holdings shares worth a considerable sum. To be specific, they have US$29m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 2.9% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$400m and US$1.6b, like IES Holdings, the median CEO pay is around US$2.4m.

The CEO of IES Holdings only received US$738k in total compensation for the year ending . That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Does IES Holdings Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

IES Holdings's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. Big growth can make big winners, so I do think IES Holdings is worth considering carefully. What about risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for IES Holdings you should know about.

Although IES 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.