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If You Like EPS Growth Then Check Out BAE Systems (LON:BA.) Before It's Too Late

Simply Wall St

Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like BAE Systems (LON:BA.). 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.

View our latest analysis for BAE Systems

How Quickly Is BAE Systems Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. BAE Systems managed to grow EPS by 12% per year, over three years. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

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. BAE Systems maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 5.2% to UK£17b. That's a real positive.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

LSE:BA. Income Statement, November 12th 2019

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of BAE Systems's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are BAE Systems Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a UK£18b company like BAE Systems. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they hold UK£11m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 0.06% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations over UK£6.2b, like BAE Systems, the median CEO pay is around UK£4.0m.

The BAE Systems CEO received UK£2.4m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. 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 BAE Systems To Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, BAE Systems is a growing business, which is what I like to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for BAE Systems, but the fun does not stop there. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. Of course, just because BAE Systems is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Although BAE Systems certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, 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

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.