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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like American Woodmark (NASDAQ:AMWD). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
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How Quickly Is American Woodmark 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. Over the last three years, American Woodmark has grown EPS by 9.8% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. American Woodmark maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 49% to US$1.6b. That's a real positive.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future American Woodmark EPS 100% free.
Are American Woodmark Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. 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.
Despite -US$93.6k worth of sales, American Woodmark insiders have overwhelmingly been buying the stock, spending US$320k on purchases in the last twelve months. On balance, to me, this signals their optimism. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by Chairman S. Dunston for US$151k worth of shares, at about US$60.53 per share.
Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for American Woodmark is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$111m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.
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. The cherry on top is that the CEO, S. Dunston is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like American Woodmark with market caps between US$1.0b and US$3.2b is about US$4.0m.
The American Woodmark CEO received total compensation of just US$1.4m in the year to April 2018. That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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 American Woodmark To Your Watchlist?
One positive for American Woodmark is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. Better yet, insiders are significant shareholders, and have been buying more shares. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. Of course, just because American Woodmark 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.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of American Woodmark, 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
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.