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 Changshouhua Food (HKG:1006). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Fast Is Changshouhua Food Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. We can see that in the last three years Changshouhua Food grew its EPS by 15% 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. It seems Changshouhua Food is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not a major concern but nor does it point to the long term growth we like to see.
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.
Changshouhua Food isn't a huge company, given its market capitalization of HK$1.8b. That makes it extra important to check on its balance sheet strength.
Are Changshouhua Food Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. So it is good to see that Changshouhua Food insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. To be specific, they have CN¥220m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. That amounts to 12% of the company, demonstrating a degree of high-level alignment with shareholders.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Changshouhua Food with market caps between CN¥712m and CN¥2.8b is about CN¥1.9m.
Changshouhua Food offered total compensation worth CN¥1m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Should You Add Changshouhua Food To Your Watchlist?
As I already mentioned, Changshouhua Food is a growing business, which is what I like to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for Changshouhua Food, but the fun does not stop there. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. Of course, just because Changshouhua Food is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies 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
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