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Is Now The Time To Put APN Convenience Retail REIT (ASX:AQR) On Your Watchlist?

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 as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like APN Convenience Retail REIT (ASX:AQR). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.

View our latest analysis for APN Convenience Retail REIT

APN Convenience Retail REIT's Improving Profits

In business, though not in life, profits are a key measure of success; and share prices tend to reflect earnings per share (EPS). So like the hint of a smile on a face that I love, growing EPS generally makes me look twice. You can imagine, then, that it almost knocked my socks off when I realized that APN Convenience Retail REIT grew its EPS from AU$0.0008 to AU$0.16, in one short year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company.

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 APN Convenience Retail REIT's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 62% to AU$29m. That's progress.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

ASX:AQR Income Statement, July 23rd 2019

APN Convenience Retail REIT isn't a huge company, given its market capitalization of AU$262m. That makes it extra important to check on its balance sheet strength.

Are APN Convenience Retail REIT 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. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

APN Convenience Retail REIT top brass are certainly in sync, not having sold any shares, over the last year. But the bigger deal is that the Independent Non-Executive Chairman of APN Funds Management Limited, Geoffrey Brunsdon, paid AU$139k to buy shares at an average price of AU$2.77.

Does APN Convenience Retail REIT Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

APN Convenience Retail REIT's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. Growth investors should find it difficult to look past that strong EPS move. And in fact, it could well signal a fundamental shift in the business economics. For me, this situation certainly piques my interest. Now, you could try to make up your mind on APN Convenience Retail REIT by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But APN Convenience Retail REIT 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

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.