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Here's Why We Think Autogrill (BIT:AGL) Is Well Worth Watching

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. 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 Autogrill (BIT:AGL). 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.

View our latest analysis for Autogrill

Autogrill's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. Impressively, Autogrill has grown EPS by 25% 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. Autogrill maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 6.4% to €5.3b. 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.

BIT:AGL Income Statement, November 10th 2019

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Autogrill's forecast profits?

Are Autogrill Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

The first bit of good news is that no Autogrill insiders reported share sales in the last twelve months. But the really good news is that Group CEO Gianmario Tondato da Ruos spent €199k buying stock stock, at an average price of around €7.38. Big buys like that give me a sense of opportunity; actions speak louder than words.

Does Autogrill Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, Autogrill's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. Not only is that growth rate rather juicy, but the insider buying makes my mouth water. To put it succinctly; Autogrill is a strong candidate for your watchlist. Of course, just because Autogrill 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.

The good news is that Autogrill is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.