U.S. Markets close in 26 mins

Do Helloworld Travel's (ASX:HLO) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

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. 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 Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. 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 Helloworld Travel

How Fast Is Helloworld Travel Growing Its Earnings Per Share?

In the last three years Helloworld Travel's earnings per share took off like a rocket; fast, and from a low base. So the actual rate of growth doesn't tell us much. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Helloworld Travel boosted its trailing twelve month EPS from AU$0.26 to AU$0.32, in the last year. That's a 21% gain; respectable growth in the broader scheme of things.

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. Helloworld Travel maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 9.8% to AU$358m. 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.

ASX:HLO Income Statement, January 9th 2020

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 Helloworld Travel?

Are Helloworld Travel 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. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

Any way you look at it Helloworld Travel shareholders can gain quiet confidence from the fact that insiders shelled out AU$707k to buy stock, over the last year. And when you consider that there was no insider selling, you can understand why shareholders might believe that lady luck will grace this business. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by CEO, MD & Director Andrew Burnes for AU$213k worth of shares, at about AU$4.98 per share.

The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Helloworld Travel bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at AU$122m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. At 19% of the company, the co-investment by insiders gives me confidence that management will make long-term focussed decisions.

While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Andrew Burnes, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Helloworld Travel with market caps between AU$292m and AU$1.2b is about AU$1.0m.

The Helloworld Travel CEO received AU$603k in compensation for the year ending June 2019. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. 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.

Does Helloworld Travel Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of Helloworld Travel is that it is growing profits. On top of that, we've seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Helloworld Travel by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Helloworld Travel, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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 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.

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. Thank you for reading.