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I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And MGM Growth Properties (NYSE:MGP) Passed With Ease

Simply Wall St

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 contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like MGM Growth Properties (NYSE:MGP), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. 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 MGM Growth Properties

MGM Growth Properties's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Who among us would not applaud MGM Growth Properties's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 46%, compound, over the last three years? Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but like a lotus blooming from a murky pond, it sparks joy for the wary stock pickers.

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 MGM Growth Properties'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. The good news is that MGM Growth Properties is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 4.3 percentage points to 54%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

NYSE:MGP Income Statement, December 5th 2019

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 MGM Growth Properties.

Are MGM Growth Properties Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

Like a sturdy phalanx MGM Growth Properties insiders have stood united by refusing to sell shares over the last year. But my excitement comes from the US$62k that Independent Director Robert Smith spent buying shares (at an average price of about US$31.14).

On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that MGM Growth Properties insiders have a valuable investment in the business. To be specific, they have US$13m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.1% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

While insiders are apparently happy to hold and accumulate shares, that is just part of the pretty picture. The cherry on top is that the CEO, James Stewart is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like MGM Growth Properties, the median CEO pay is around US$6.8m.

MGM Growth Properties offered total compensation worth US$3.5m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Does MGM Growth Properties Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

MGM Growth Properties's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bunch of shares, and one has been buying more. Because of the potential that it has reached an inflection point, I'd suggest MGM Growth Properties belongs on the top of your watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on MGM Growth Properties by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of MGM Growth Properties, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.