Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. But as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like BioLife Solutions (NASDAQ:BLFS). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. 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.
BioLife Solutions's Improving Profits
In business, though not in life, profits are a key measure of success; and share prices tend to reflect earnings per share (EPS). So like the hint of a smile on a face that I love, growing EPS generally makes me look twice. It is therefore awe-striking that BioLife Solutions's EPS went from US$0.095 to US$0.60 in just one year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company. But the key is discerning whether something profound has changed, or if this is a just a one-off boost.
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). On the one hand, BioLife Solutions's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of BioLife Solutions's forecast profits?
Are BioLife Solutions Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own BioLife Solutions shares worth a considerable sum. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at US$86m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. At 27% of the company, the co-investment by insiders gives me confidence that management will make long-term focussed decisions.
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. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like BioLife Solutions with market caps between US$200m and US$800m is about US$1.7m.
The BioLife Solutions CEO received total compensation of just US$691k in the year to December 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Does BioLife Solutions Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
BioLife Solutions's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Big growth can make big winners, so I do think BioLife Solutions is worth considering carefully. If you think BioLife Solutions might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.
Although BioLife Solutions 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
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