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For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and 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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in CTS (NYSE:CTS). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than 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.
CTS's Improving Profits
In the last three years CTS's earnings per share took off like a rocket; fast, and from a low base. So the actual rate of growth doesn't tell us much. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like a firecracker arcing through the night sky, CTS's EPS shot from US$0.53 to US$1.41, over the last year. You don't see 165% year-on-year growth like that, very often.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. The good news is that CTS is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.9 percentage points to 14%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for CTS?
Are CTS 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 CTS insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. To be specific, they have US$18m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 2.0% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Should You Add CTS To Your Watchlist?
CTS's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So to my mind CTS is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. Of course, just because CTS is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared 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
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.