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Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. 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 contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Vesuvius (LON:VSVS), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Quickly Is Vesuvius 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). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Vesuvius has grown EPS by 43% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a glint in the eye of my lover.
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. Vesuvius maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 6.8% to UK£1.8b. That's a real positive.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
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 Vesuvius?
Are Vesuvius 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, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
Vesuvius top brass are certainly in sync, not having sold any shares, over the last year. But my excitement comes from the UK£97k that Independent Non-Executive Director Holly Koeppel spent buying shares (at an average price of about UK£4.85).
Is Vesuvius Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Vesuvius's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. If you're like me, you'll find it hard to ignore that sort of explosive EPS growth. And in fact, it could well signal a fundamental shift in the business economics. If that's the case, you may regret neglecting to put Vesuvius on your watchlist. If you think Vesuvius 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.
As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But Vesuvius isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.