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Here's Why We Think Synovus Financial (NYSE:SNV) Is Well Worth Watching

Simply Wall St

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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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Synovus Financial (NYSE:SNV), 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. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

Check out our latest analysis for Synovus Financial

Synovus Financial's Earnings Per Share Are 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. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. It certainly is nice to see that Synovus Financial has managed to grow EPS by 27% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.

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. Not all of Synovus Financial'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. Synovus Financial maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 13% to US$1.5b. That's a real positive.

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.

NYSE:SNV Income Statement, June 5th 2019

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 Synovus Financial.

Are Synovus Financial 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. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

Despite -US$52.2k worth of sales, Synovus Financial insiders have overwhelmingly been buying the stock, spending US$721k on purchases in the last twelve months. On balance, to me, this signals their optimism. We also note that it was the Chairman, Kessel Stelling, who made the biggest single acquisition, paying US$260k for shares at about US$34.72 each.

Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Synovus Financial is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. With a whopping US$61m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.

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. The cherry on top is that the CEO, Kessel Stelling is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like Synovus Financial, the median CEO pay is around US$6.9m.

The Synovus Financial CEO received US$5.9m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Should You Add Synovus Financial To Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Synovus Financial's strong EPS growth. On top of that, insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Of course, just because Synovus Financial is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Synovus Financial, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

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.

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. Thank you for reading.