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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. 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.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Sylvania Platinum (LON:SLP). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Fast Is Sylvania Platinum Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
Over the last three years, Sylvania Platinum has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don't think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like a firecracker arcing through the night sky, Sylvania Platinum's EPS shot from US$0.12 to US$0.21, over the last year. Year on year growth of 70% is certainly a sight to behold. The best case scenario? That the business has hit a true inflection point.
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). Sylvania Platinum shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 49% to 55%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.
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.
While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.
Are Sylvania Platinum Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Sylvania Platinum shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$20m worth of its stock. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Those holdings account for over 5.8% of the company; visible skin in the game.
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 between US$200m and US$800m, like Sylvania Platinum, the median CEO pay is around US$725k.
The Sylvania Platinum CEO received total compensation of just US$289k in the year to . That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Should You Add Sylvania Platinum To Your Watchlist?
Sylvania Platinum's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. Big growth can make big winners, so I do think Sylvania Platinum is worth considering carefully. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Sylvania Platinum by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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