The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. Sometimes these stories can cloud the minds of investors, leading them to invest with their emotions rather than on the merit of good company fundamentals. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.
So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Halma (LON:HLMA). While this doesn't necessarily speak to whether it's undervalued, the profitability of the business is enough to warrant some appreciation - especially if its growing.
How Quickly Is Halma Increasing Earnings Per Share?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. We can see that in the last three years Halma grew its EPS by 13% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. While we note Halma achieved similar EBIT margins to last year, revenue grew by a solid 16% to UK£1.5b. That's progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Halma's future profits.
Are Halma Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Halma has a market capitalisation of UK£8.2b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But thanks to their investment in the company, it's pleasing to see that there are still incentives to align their actions with the shareholders. As a matter of fact, their holding is valued at UK£28m. This considerable investment should help drive long-term value in the business. Even though that's only about 0.3% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
While it's always good to see some strong conviction in the company from insiders through heavy investment, it's also important for shareholders to ask if management compensation policies are reasonable. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to Halma, with market caps over UK£6.7b, is around UK£4.3m.
The Halma CEO received UK£3.6m in compensation for the year ending March 2022. That is actually below the median for CEO's of similarly sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when it's reasonable, that gives a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Is Halma Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One important encouraging feature of Halma is that it is growing profits. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Halma, but the pleasant picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, you'd argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. If you think Halma 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.
There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you 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.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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