It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Alfa Laval (STO:ALFA). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Quickly Is Alfa Laval Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Alfa Laval's EPS has grown 27% each year, compound, over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.
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. While we note Alfa Laval's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 13% to kr45b. That's progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Alfa Laval?
Are Alfa Laval 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. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.
First things first; I didn't see insiders sell Alfa Laval shares in the last year. Even better, though, is that the President & CEO, Tom Erixon, bought a whopping kr2.3m worth of shares, paying about kr231 per share, on average. Big buys like that give me a sense of opportunity; actions speak louder than words.
Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Alfa Laval is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. To be specific, they have kr163m 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.
Does Alfa Laval Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Alfa Laval has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. The cranberry sauce on the turkey is that insiders own a bunch of shares, and one has been buying more. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. If you think Alfa Laval might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.
The good news is that Alfa Laval is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's 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
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.
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