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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 Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in China Evergrande Group (HKG:3333). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Fast Is China Evergrande Group Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that China Evergrande Group has grown EPS by 59% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a glint in the eye of my lover.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. China Evergrande Group shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 25% to 29%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. 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 China Evergrande Group's forecast profits?
Are China Evergrande Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
It's a pleasure to note that insiders spent CN¥307m buying China Evergrande Group shares, over the last year, without reporting any share sales whatsoever. And so I find myself almost expectant, and certainly hopeful, that this large outlay signals prescient optimism for the business. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by Hoi-wan Chan for HK$277m worth of shares, at about HK$28.81 per share.
On top of the insider buying, we can also see that China Evergrande Group insiders own a large chunk of the company. In fact, they own 80% of the company, so they will share in the same delights and challenges experienced by the ordinary shareholders. This makes me think they will be incentivised to plan for the long term - something I like to see. At the current share price, that insider holding is worth a whopping CN¥218b. Now that's what I call some serious skin in the game!
Should You Add China Evergrande Group To Your Watchlist?
China Evergrande Group's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. If you're like me, you'll find it hard to ignore that sort of explosive EPS growth. And indeed, it could be a sign that the business is at an inflection point. For me, this situation certainly piques my interest. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if China Evergrande Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But China Evergrande Group isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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