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Here's Why We Think Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Might Deserve Your Attention Today

·4 min read

The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. Unfortunately, these high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, so investors in these companies may be taking on more risk than they should.

So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI). While profit isn't the sole metric that should be considered when investing, it's worth recognising businesses that can consistently produce it.

See our latest analysis for Darden Restaurants

How Quickly Is Darden Restaurants Increasing Earnings Per Share?

Generally, companies experiencing growth in earnings per share (EPS) should see similar trends in share price. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Darden Restaurants has grown EPS by 9.8% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

It's often helpful to take a look at earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. The music to the ears of Darden Restaurants shareholders is that EBIT margins have grown from 9.1% to 12% in the last 12 months and revenues are on an upwards trend as well. That's great to see, on both counts.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

While we live in the present moment, there's little doubt that the future matters most in the investment decision process. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Darden Restaurants?

Are Darden Restaurants Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Owing to the size of Darden Restaurants, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a significant proportion of the company. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Holding US$75m worth of stock in the company is no laughing matter and insiders will be committed in delivering the best outcomes for shareholders. This would indicate that the goals of shareholders and management are one and the same.

While it's always good to see some strong conviction in the company from insiders through heavy investment, it's also important for shareholders to ask if management compensation policies are reasonable. Our quick analysis into CEO remuneration would seem to indicate they are. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to Darden Restaurants, with market caps over US$8.0b, is around US$13m.

Darden Restaurants' CEO took home a total compensation package of US$3.8m in the year prior to May 2021. That's clearly well below average, so at a glance that arrangement seems generous to shareholders and points to a modest remuneration culture. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when it's reasonable, that gives a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. Generally, arguments can be made that reasonable pay levels attest to good decision-making.

Is Darden Restaurants Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One positive for Darden Restaurants is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. The growth of EPS may be the eye-catching headline for Darden Restaurants, but there's more to bring joy for shareholders. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. You should always think about risks though. Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Darden Restaurants you should be aware of.

The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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