U.S. Markets closed

Here's Why We Think United Overseas Bank (SGX:U11) Is Well Worth Watching

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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in United Overseas Bank (SGX:U11). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

View our latest analysis for United Overseas Bank

United Overseas Bank's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

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). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, United Overseas Bank has grown EPS by 8.0% per year. While that sort of growth rate isn't amazing, it does show the business is growing.

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. I note that United Overseas Bank's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. While we note United Overseas Bank's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 8.7% to S$9.2b. That's progress.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

SGX:U11 Income Statement, October 11th 2019

While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for United Overseas Bank?

Are United Overseas Bank Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

Any way you look at it United Overseas Bank shareholders can gain quiet confidence from the fact that insiders shelled out S$742k to buy stock, over the last year. When you contrast that with the complete lack of sales, it's easy for shareholders to brim with joyful expectancy. It is also worth noting that it was Deputy Chairman & CEO Ee Cheong Wee who made the biggest single purchase, worth S$589k, paying S$23.56 per share.

Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for United Overseas Bank is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at S$5.8b. Coming in at 14% of the business, that holding gives insiders a lot of influence, and plenty of reason to generate value for shareholders. Very encouraging.

Should You Add United Overseas Bank To Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, United Overseas Bank is a growing business, which is what I like to see. On top of that, we've seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. If you think United Overseas Bank might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of United Overseas Bank, 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.