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If EPS Growth Is Important To You, Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) Presents An Opportunity

For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it currently lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.

In contrast to all that, many investors prefer to focus on companies like Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While this doesn't necessarily speak to whether it's undervalued, the profitability of the business is enough to warrant some appreciation - especially if its growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Fastenal

Fastenal's Earnings Per Share Are Growing

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price should eventually follow. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Fastenal managed to grow EPS by 12% per year, over three years. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.

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. While we note Fastenal achieved similar EBIT margins to last year, revenue grew by a solid 13% to US$7.1b. That's encouraging news for the company!

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.


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

Are Fastenal Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Investors are always searching for a vote of confidence in the companies they hold and insider buying is one of the key indicators for optimism on the market. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

The real kicker here is that Fastenal insiders spent a staggering US$835k on acquiring shares in just one year, without single share being sold in the meantime. Buying like that is a fantastic look for the company and should rouse the market in anticipation for the future. We also note that it was the Chief Sales Officer, Jeffery Watts, who made the biggest single acquisition, paying US$300k for shares at about US$50.58 each.

Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Fastenal is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Holding US$57m worth of stock in the company is no laughing matter and insiders will be committed in delivering the best outcomes for shareholders. That's certainly enough to let shareholders know that management will be very focussed on long term growth.

While insiders are apparently happy to hold and accumulate shares, that is just part of the big picture. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Dan Florness, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to Fastenal, with market caps over US$8.0b, is around US$12m.

Fastenal's CEO took home a total compensation package of US$5.4m in the year prior to December 2022. First impressions seem to indicate a compensation policy that is favourable to shareholders. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. Generally, arguments can be made that reasonable pay levels attest to good decision-making.

Is Fastenal Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One positive for Fastenal is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. On top of that, we've seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. That should do plenty in prompting budding investors to undertake a bit more research - or even adding the company to their watchlists. Of course, just because Fastenal is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

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

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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