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Does NL Industries (NYSE:NL) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

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·3 min read
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  • NL

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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like NL Industries (NYSE:NL), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

Check out our latest analysis for NL Industries

How Fast Is NL Industries Growing Its Earnings Per Share?

Over the last three years, NL Industries 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. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like the last firework on New Year's Eve accelerating into the sky, NL Industries's EPS shot from US$0.34 to US$0.83, over the last year. Year on year growth of 143% is certainly a sight to behold.

Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. NL Industries shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 3.1% to 7.7%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

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

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

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

Are NL Industries Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

As a general rule, I think it worth considering how much the CEO is paid, since unreasonably high rates could be considered against the interests of shareholders. For companies with market capitalizations between US$200m and US$800m, like NL Industries, the median CEO pay is around US$1.7m.

NL Industries offered total compensation worth US$871k to its CEO in the year to . 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. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Does NL Industries Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

NL Industries's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. With rocketing profits, its seems likely the business has a rosy future; and it may have hit an inflection point. At the same time the reasonable CEO compensation reflects well on the board of directors. While I couldn't be sure without a deeper dive, it does seem that NL Industries has the hallmarks of a quality business; and that would make it well worth watching. Even so, be aware that NL Industries is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those can't be ignored...

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies 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.

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.

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