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.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
Whitestone REIT's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Whitestone REIT managed to grow EPS by 12% per year, over three years. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
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. Not all of Whitestone REIT's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. Unfortunately, Whitestone REIT's revenue dropped 5.0% last year, but the silver lining is that EBIT margins improved from 27% to 29%. That's not ideal.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Whitestone REIT?
Are Whitestone REIT Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that Whitestone REIT insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. To be specific, they have US$23m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 4.5% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Should You Add Whitestone REIT To Your Watchlist?
One positive for Whitestone REIT is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. The combination sparks joy for me, so I'd consider keeping the company on a watchlist. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of Whitestone REIT.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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