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 CarMax (NYSE:KMX). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Fast Is CarMax Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Impressively, CarMax has grown EPS by 18% per year, compound, in the last three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.
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). I note that CarMax's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. CarMax maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 9.9% to US$21b. That's progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for CarMax.
Are CarMax Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since CarMax has a market capitalization of US$17b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. With a whopping US$73m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like CarMax, the median CEO pay is around US$11m.
The CarMax CEO received US$9.0m in compensation for the year ending February 2019. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Is CarMax Worth Keeping An Eye On?
You can't deny that CarMax has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that CarMax is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of CarMax.
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
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