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.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Donegal Group (NASDAQ:DGIC.B), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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.
Donegal Group's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Donegal Group has grown EPS by 48% per year, over the last three years. Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but like a lotus blooming from a murky pond, it sparks joy for the wary stock pickers.
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. Donegal Group's EBIT margins have actually improved by 5.2 percentage points in the last year, to reach 7.2%, but, on the flip side, revenue was down 2.2%. That falls short of ideal.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Donegal Group's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are Donegal Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I always like to check up on CEO compensation, because I think that reasonable pay levels, around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Donegal Group with market caps between US$200m and US$800m is about US$2.0m.
Donegal Group offered total compensation worth US$1.0m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does Donegal Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Donegal Group's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. Such fast EPS growth makes me wonder if the business has hit an inflection point (and I mean the good kind.) At the same time the reasonable CEO compensation reflects well on the board of directors. So Donegal Group looks like it could be a good quality growth stock, at first glance. That's worth watching. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 1 warning sign for Donegal Group that you should be aware of.
Although Donegal Group certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
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. 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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