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Do Encore Capital Group's (NASDAQ:ECPG) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

It's common for many investors, especially those who are inexperienced, to buy shares in companies with a good story even if these companies are loss-making. Sometimes these stories can cloud the minds of investors, leading them to invest with their emotions rather than on the merit of good company fundamentals. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, so investors in these companies may be taking on more risk than they should.

Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like Encore Capital Group (NASDAQ:ECPG). While profit isn't the sole metric that should be considered when investing, it's worth recognising businesses that can consistently produce it.

View our latest analysis for Encore Capital Group

Encore Capital Group's Earnings Per Share Are Growing

Generally, companies experiencing growth in earnings per share (EPS) should see similar trends in share price. So it makes sense that experienced investors pay close attention to company EPS when undertaking investment research. Recognition must be given to the that Encore Capital Group has grown EPS by 49% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches the eye of prospective investors.

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. It's noted that Encore Capital Group's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort our analysis of its margins. Encore Capital Group's EBIT margins have fallen over the last twelve months, but the flat revenue sends a message of stability. While some people may not be too phased, this could be a sticking point for some investors.

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.

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

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Encore Capital Group's forecast profits?

Are Encore Capital Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It's pleasing to see company leaders with putting their money on the line, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that Encore Capital Group insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. As a matter of fact, their holding is valued at US$25m. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 1.9% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but shareholders may be wondering if remuneration policies are in their best interest. Well, based on the CEO pay, you'd argue that they are indeed. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to Encore Capital Group, with market caps between US$1.0b and US$3.2b, is around US$5.4m.

The Encore Capital Group CEO received US$4.6m in compensation for the year ending December 2021. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies and seems pretty reasonable. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when it's reasonable, that gives a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Does Encore Capital Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Encore Capital Group's earnings per share have been soaring, with growth rates sky high. An added bonus for those interested is that management hold a heap of stock and the CEO pay is quite reasonable, illustrating good cash management. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Big growth can make big winners, so the writing on the wall tells us that Encore Capital Group is worth considering carefully. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Encore Capital Group , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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.

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.

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