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Here's Why We Think Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB) Is Well Worth Watching

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·4 min read
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Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. 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 Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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 Ameris Bancorp

How Quickly Is Ameris Bancorp Increasing Earnings Per Share?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Impressively, Ameris Bancorp has grown EPS by 36% per year, compound, in the last three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.

I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. I note that Ameris Bancorp's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Ameris Bancorp maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 44% to US$1.1b. That's progress.

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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

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 Ameris Bancorp's future profits.

Are Ameris Bancorp 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. So it is good to see that Ameris Bancorp insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$199m. 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.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like Ameris Bancorp, the median CEO pay is around US$5.3m.

The Ameris Bancorp CEO received US$2.7m in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Does Ameris Bancorp Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Ameris Bancorp's strong EPS growth. If that's not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Ameris Bancorp is worth keeping an eye on. We should say that we've discovered 2 warning signs for Ameris Bancorp (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.