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Do Hour Glass's (SGX:AGS) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

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 Hour Glass (SGX:AGS). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

See our latest analysis for Hour Glass

How Fast Is Hour Glass 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 Hour Glass grew its EPS by 17% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.

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. While we note Hour Glass's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 5.3% to S$748m. That's a real positive.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.

SGX:AGS Income Statement, November 18th 2019

While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.

Are Hour Glass 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. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

One shining light for Hour Glass is the serious outlay one insider has made to buy shares, in the last year. In one fell swoop, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman Yun Tay, spent S$6.9m, at a price of S$0.71 per share. Big insider buys like that are almost as rare as an ocean free of single use plastic waste.

The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Hour Glass bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. With a whopping S$87m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That holding amounts to 15% of the stock on issue, thus making insiders influential, and aligned, owners of the business.

Does Hour Glass Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of Hour Glass is that it is growing profits. Better yet, insiders are significant shareholders, and have been buying more shares. That makes the company a prime candidate for my watchlist - and arguably a research priority. If you think Hour Glass 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.

The good news is that Hour Glass is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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

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.