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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. 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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in AutoZone (NYSE:AZO). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
How Quickly Is AutoZone 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 makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, AutoZone's EPS has grown 23% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). The good news is that AutoZone is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 2.2 percentage points to 21%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of AutoZone's forecast profits?
Are AutoZone Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$35b company like AutoZone. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$115m. 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.
Does AutoZone Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, AutoZone's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. Further, the high level of insider ownership impresses me, and suggests that I'm not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. Still, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with AutoZone (including 1 which is potentially serious) .
Although AutoZone certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
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.
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