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 Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Patrick Industries (NASDAQ:PATK). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
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How Quickly Is Patrick Industries Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. It certainly is nice to see that Patrick Industries has managed to grow EPS by 32% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners. And for those who like the finer details, I'll add that the EPS growth has been helped by share buybacks, demonstrating that the business is positioned to return capital to its shareholders.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). While we note Patrick Industries's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 26% to US$2.3b. That's a real positive.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
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 Patrick Industries.
Are Patrick Industries 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, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
While Patrick Industries insiders did net -US$1.1m selling stock over the last year, they invested US$1.4m, a much higher figure. You could argue that level of buying implies genuine confidence in the business. We also note that it was the Chairman & CEO, Todd Cleveland, who made the biggest single acquisition, paying US$926k for shares at about US$31.72 each.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Patrick Industries insiders have a valuable investment in the business. With a whopping US$64m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
Should You Add Patrick Industries To Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Patrick Industries's strong EPS growth. Not only that, but we can see that insiders both own a lot of, and are buying more, shares in the company. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Patrick Industries by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Patrick Industries, 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
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.