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 the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like PRA Group (NASDAQ:PRAA). 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.
PRA Group's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. We can see that in the last three years PRA Group grew its EPS by 11% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
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. Not all of PRA Group's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. PRA Group shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 25% to 36%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for PRA Group.
Are PRA Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own PRA Group shares worth a considerable sum. To be specific, they have US$33m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 1.8% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Is PRA Group Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One important encouraging feature of PRA Group is that it is growing profits. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Before you take the next step you should know about the 1 warning sign for PRA Group that we have uncovered.
You can invest in 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.
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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