Does Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance (NYSE:ARI) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

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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. But as Warren Buffett has mused, ‘If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.’ When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance (NYSE:ARI), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it’s easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. 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.

See our latest analysis for Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance

How Fast Is Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance 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. Over the last three years, Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance has grown EPS by 8.4% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

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. I note that Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance’s revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 11% to US$289m. That’s progress.

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:ARI Income Statement, June 12th 2019
NYSE:ARI Income Statement, June 12th 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 Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance.

Are Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

As a general rule, I think it worth considering how much the CEO is paid, since unreasonably high rates could be considered against the interests of shareholders. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance with market caps between US$2.0b and US$6.4b is about US$5.3m.

The Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance CEO received total compensation of just US$1.9m in the year to December 2018. That’s clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Is Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One important encouraging feature of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance is that it is growing profits. Not only that, but the CEO is paid quite reasonably, which makes me feel more trusting of the board of directors. So all in all I think it’s worth at least considering for your watchlist. If you think Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.

Although Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance 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 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. Thank you for reading.