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Here's Why We Think Element Solutions (NYSE:ESI) Is Well Worth Watching

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Investors are often guided by the idea of discovering 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without any revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, these high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.

So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Element Solutions (NYSE:ESI). Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.

Check out our latest analysis for Element Solutions

Element Solutions' Improving Profits

In the last three years Element Solutions' earnings per share took off; so much so that it's a bit disingenuous to use these figures to try and deduce long term estimates. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. It's good to see that Element Solutions' EPS has grown from US$0.61 to US$0.71 over twelve months. There's little doubt shareholders would be happy with that 17% gain.

Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. While Element Solutions did well to grow revenue over the last year, EBIT margins were dampened at the same time. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

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

The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. While crystal balls don't exist, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for Element Solutions' future EPS 100% free.

Are Element Solutions Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It should give investors a sense of security owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, creating a close alignment their interests. Shareholders will be pleased by the fact that insiders own Element Solutions shares worth a considerable sum. Notably, they have an enviable stake in the company, worth US$304m. This suggests that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!

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. Well, based on the CEO pay, you'd argue that they are indeed. For companies with market capitalisations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like Element Solutions, the median CEO pay is around US$6.9m.

The Element Solutions CEO received US$5.1m in compensation for the year ending December 2021. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given it's below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation shouldn't be the biggest factor in how the company is viewed, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Should You Add Element Solutions To Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of Element Solutions is that it is growing profits. Earnings growth might be the main attraction for Element Solutions, but the fun does not stop there. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. You still need to take note of risks, for example - Element Solutions has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.

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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