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Here's Why I Think Hawkins (NASDAQ:HWKN) Might Deserve Your Attention Today

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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 Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Hawkins (NASDAQ:HWKN), 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. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

Check out our latest analysis for Hawkins

How Quickly Is Hawkins Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. Over the last three years, Hawkins has grown EPS by 4.9% per year. While that sort of growth rate isn't amazing, it does show the business is growing.

I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). Hawkins maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 4.7% to US$566m. That's progress.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

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

While it's always good to see growing profits, you should always remember that a weak balance sheet could come back to bite. So check Hawkins's balance sheet strength, before getting too excited.

Are Hawkins 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. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Hawkins shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$34m worth of its stock. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 4.8% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Hawkins with market caps between US$400m and US$1.6b is about US$2.3m.

The Hawkins CEO received US$1.9m in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Does Hawkins Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

One positive for Hawkins is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for Hawkins, but the fun does not stop there. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I'd argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. It is worth noting though that we have found 1 warning sign for Hawkins that you need to take into consideration.

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.

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.

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