With EPS Growth And More, Ashland (NYSE:ASH) Makes An Interesting Case
The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' A loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the inflow of external capital may dry up.
If this kind of company isn't your style, you like companies that generate revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Ashland (NYSE:ASH). Even if this company is fairly valued by the market, investors would agree that generating consistent profits will continue to provide Ashland with the means to add long-term value to shareholders.
Check out our latest analysis for Ashland
Ashland's Earnings Per Share Are Growing
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS) outcomes. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Shareholders will be happy to know that Ashland's EPS has grown 19% each year, compound, over three years. If growth like this continues on into the future, then shareholders will have plenty to smile about.
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. The music to the ears of Ashland shareholders is that EBIT margins have grown from 9.5% to 13% in the last 12 months and revenues are on an upwards trend as well. Both of which are great metrics to check off for potential growth.
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.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. While crystal balls don't exist, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for Ashland's future EPS 100% free.
Are Ashland Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Owing to the size of Ashland, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a significant proportion of the company. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. To be specific, they have US$46m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 0.8% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Should You Add Ashland To Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Ashland has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. With EPS growth rates like that, it's hardly surprising to see company higher-ups place confidence in the company through continuing to hold a significant investment. On the balance of its merits, solid EPS growth and company insiders who are aligned with the shareholders would indicate a business that is worthy of further research. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Ashland by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
Although Ashland certainly looks good, it may appeal to more investors if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, 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.
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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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