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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII). 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 Huntington Ingalls Industries 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). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Huntington Ingalls Industries's EPS has grown 21% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. On the one hand, Huntington Ingalls Industries's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
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 Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Are Huntington Ingalls Industries Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Huntington Ingalls Industries has a market capitalization of US$8.8b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$219m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Huntington Ingalls Industries with market caps between US$4.0b and US$12b is about US$6.8m.
Huntington Ingalls Industries offered total compensation worth US$5.6m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Does Huntington Ingalls Industries Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Huntington Ingalls Industries has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Huntington Ingalls Industries is worth keeping an eye on. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Huntington Ingalls Industries by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
Although Huntington Ingalls Industries certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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