U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 16 mins

Here's Why I Think Gym Group (LON:GYM) Is An Interesting Stock

Simply Wall St

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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Gym Group (LON:GYM), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that 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.

See our latest analysis for Gym Group

How Fast Is Gym Group Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Who among us would not applaud Gym Group's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 42%, 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.

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. On the one hand, Gym Group's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So it seems the future my hold further growth, especially if EBIT margins can stabilize.

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.

LSE:GYM Income Statement, January 12th 2020

You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Gym Group's future profits.

Are Gym Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

Not only did Gym Group insiders refrain from selling stock during the year, but they also spent UK£77k buying it. That's nice to see, because it suggests insiders are optimistic. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by Independent Non-Executive Chairwoman Penelope Hughes for UK£53k worth of shares, at about UK£2.20 per share.

Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Gym Group is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they hold UK£14m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 3.5% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Richard Darwin, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations between UK£153m and UK£613m, like Gym Group, the median CEO pay is around UK£663k.

The Gym Group CEO received UK£338k in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Does Gym Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Gym Group's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. What's more insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. This quick rundown suggests that the business may be of good quality, and also at an inflection point, so maybe Gym Group deserves timely attention. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Gym Group by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

The good news is that Gym Group is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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

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.