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Is Now The Time To Put Atlanticus Holdings (NASDAQ:ATLC) On Your Watchlist?

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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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Atlanticus Holdings (NASDAQ:ATLC). 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. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

View our latest analysis for Atlanticus Holdings

How Fast Is Atlanticus Holdings Growing Its Earnings Per Share?

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. It is therefore awe-striking that Atlanticus Holdings's EPS went from US$2.45 to US$8.60 in just one year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement. Could this be a sign that the business has reached an inflection point?

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. I note that Atlanticus Holdings'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 Atlanticus Holdings's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 165% to US$344m. 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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

While it's always good to see growing profits, you should always remember that a weak balance sheet could come back to bite. So check Atlanticus Holdings's balance sheet strength, before getting too excited.

Are Atlanticus Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Many consider high insider ownership to be a strong sign of alignment between the leaders of a company and the ordinary shareholders. So as you can imagine, the fact that Atlanticus Holdings insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. Indeed, with a collective holding of 63%, company insiders are in control and have plenty of capital behind the venture. This makes me think they will be incentivised to plan for the long term - something I like to see. And their holding is extremely valuable at the current share price, totalling US$561m. That means they have plenty of their own capital riding on the performance of the business!

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations between US$400m and US$1.6b, like Atlanticus Holdings, the median CEO pay is around US$2.3m.

The Atlanticus Holdings CEO received US$1.2m in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Should You Add Atlanticus Holdings To Your Watchlist?

Atlanticus Holdings's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. Atlanticus Holdings certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 3 warning signs for Atlanticus Holdings that you should be aware of.

Although Atlanticus Holdings 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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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