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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Mainfreight (NZSE:MFT). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Fast Is Mainfreight Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, Mainfreight has grown EPS by 16% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. While we note Mainfreight's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 13% to NZ$3.0b. That's a real positive.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Mainfreight.
Are Mainfreight 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 Mainfreight insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth NZ$794m. That equates to 20% of the company, making insiders powerful and aligned with other shareholders. Very encouraging.
Does Mainfreight Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
As I already mentioned, Mainfreight is a growing business, which is what I like to see. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Mainfreight by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
Although Mainfreight 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
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.