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I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (NASDAQ:GLDD) Passed With Ease

Simply Wall St

It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (NASDAQ:GLDD). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. 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 Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

How Fast Is Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Growing Its Earnings Per Share?

In a capitalist society capital chases profits, and that means share prices tend rise with 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 Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's EPS went from US$0.044 to US$0.72 in just one year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement. But the key is discerning whether something profound has changed, or if this is a just a one-off boost.

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. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 9.3% to 14%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

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.

NasdaqGS:GLDD Income Statement, January 8th 2020

You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's future profits.

Are Great Lakes Dredge & Dock 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. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Great Lakes Dredge & Dock shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$14m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 1.9% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

Does Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So to my mind Great Lakes Dredge & Dock is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if Great Lakes Dredge & Dock is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Although Great Lakes Dredge & Dock 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

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.

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