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Here's Why We Think Countryside Properties (LON:CSP) Is Well Worth Watching

Simply Wall St

It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. 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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Countryside Properties (LON:CSP). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

See our latest analysis for Countryside Properties

How Fast Is Countryside Properties Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Who among us would not applaud Countryside Properties's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 41%, compound, over the last three years? That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.

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. While we note Countryside Properties's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 21% to UK£1.2b. That's a real positive.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

LSE:CSP Income Statement, November 23rd 2019

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Countryside Properties's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Countryside Properties Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that Countryside Properties insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. With a whopping UK£48m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. This should keep them focused on creating long term value for shareholders.

Is Countryside Properties Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Countryside Properties's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders certainly brightens my view of the company. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So to my mind Countryside Properties is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. 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 Countryside Properties is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

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.

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. Thank you for reading.