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Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Mitek Systems (NASDAQ:MITK). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Fast Is Mitek Systems Growing?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Mitek Systems has grown EPS by 5.4% per year. That might not be particularly high growth, but it does show that per-share earnings are moving steadily in the right direction.
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. Mitek Systems shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 13% to 20%, and revenue is growing. 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. For finer detail, click on the image.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Mitek Systems's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are Mitek Systems 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 Mitek Systems shares worth a considerable sum. To be specific, they have US$23m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 2.8% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Mitek Systems with market caps between US$400m and US$1.6b is about US$2.4m.
Mitek Systems offered total compensation worth US$1.3m to its CEO in the year to . 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. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Is Mitek Systems Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One positive for Mitek Systems is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for Mitek Systems, 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 should always think about risks though. Case in point, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Mitek Systems you should be aware of.
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.
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