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 as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, ‘Long shots almost never pay off.’
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS). Now, I’m not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can’t shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
Zoetis’s Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It’s no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. Impressively, Zoetis has grown EPS by 24% per year, compound, in the last three years. As a general rule, we’d say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.
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. Zoetis shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 34% to 36%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
You can take a look at the company’s revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.
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 Zoetis.
Are Zoetis Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Zoetis has a market capitalization of US$73b, we wouldn’t expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. With a whopping US$66m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company’s success. That’s certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like Zoetis, the median CEO pay is around US$11m.
The CEO of Zoetis only received US$3.3m in total compensation for the year ending . 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.
Does Zoetis Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Zoetis’s strong EPS growth. If that’s not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. Each to their own, but I think all this makes Zoetis look rather interesting indeed. We don’t want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 2 warning signs for Zoetis that you need to be mindful of.
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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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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