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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 as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Hypebeast (HKG:150). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. 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 Hypebeast 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). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Hypebeast has grown EPS by 48% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a glint in the eye of my lover.
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. On the one hand, Hypebeast's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So it seems the future my hold further growth, especially if EBIT margins can stabilize.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
Hypebeast isn't a huge company, given its market capitalization of HK$1.6b. That makes it extra important to check on its balance sheet strength.
Are Hypebeast Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
Hypebeast top brass are certainly in sync, not having sold any shares, over the last year. But my excitement comes from the HK$1.3m that Founder Pak Wing Ma spent buying shares (at an average price of about HK$0.79).
And the insider buying isn't the only sign of alignment between shareholders and the board, since Hypebeast insiders own more than a third of the company. In fact, they own 74% of the company, so they will share in the same delights and challenges experienced by the ordinary shareholders. To me this is a good sign because it suggests they will be incentivised to build value for shareholders over the long term. With that sort of holding, insiders have about HK$1.2b riding on the stock, at current prices. That should be more than enough to keep them focussed on creating shareholder value!
Should You Add Hypebeast To Your Watchlist?
Hypebeast's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. If you're like me, you'll find it hard to ignore that sort of explosive EPS growth. And indeed, it could be a sign that the business is at an inflection point. If that's the case, you may regret neglecting to put Hypebeast on your watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Hypebeast by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
The good news is that Hypebeast is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a a list of them... 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
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.