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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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Alliant Energy (NASDAQ:LNT). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
How Fast Is Alliant Energy Growing?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Alliant Energy managed to grow EPS by 9.3% per year, over three years. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.
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. Alliant Energy maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 4.7% to US$3.6b. That's progress.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Alliant Energy.
Are Alliant Energy Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
Alliant Energy top brass are certainly in sync, not having sold any shares, over the last year. But the bigger deal is that the , Deborah Dunie, paid US$55k to buy shares at an average price of US$43.80.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Alliant Energy insiders have a valuable investment in the business. To be specific, they have US$21m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 0.2% 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. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Pat Kampling, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like Alliant Energy, the median CEO pay is around US$11m.
Alliant Energy offered total compensation worth US$6.5m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Should You Add Alliant Energy To Your Watchlist?
One positive for Alliant Energy 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. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if Alliant Energy is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But Alliant Energy isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.