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If You Like EPS Growth Then Check Out John Bean Technologies (NYSE:JBT) Before It's Too Late

Simply Wall St

For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. 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 John Bean Technologies (NYSE:JBT). 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. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

View our latest analysis for John Bean Technologies

How Quickly Is John Bean Technologies 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). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. It certainly is nice to see that John Bean Technologies has managed to grow EPS by 22% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.

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). John Bean Technologies maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 3.8% to US$1.9b. That's a real positive.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NYSE:JBT Income Statement, November 18th 2019

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of John Bean Technologies's forecast profits?

Are John Bean Technologies Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. So it is good to see that John Bean Technologies insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. With a whopping US$85m 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 John Bean Technologies To Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, John Bean Technologies's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn't surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. Now, you could try to make up your mind on John Bean Technologies 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 John Bean Technologies 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.