I Built A List Of Growing Companies And Peoples Bancorp (NASDAQ:PEBO) Made The Cut

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 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 Peoples Bancorp (NASDAQ:PEBO), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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.

View our latest analysis for Peoples Bancorp

How Fast Is Peoples Bancorp Growing?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Peoples Bancorp’s EPS has grown 22% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we’d expect shareholders to come away winners.

I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). Not all of Peoples Bancorp’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. While we note Peoples Bancorp’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 13% to US$199m. That’s a real positive.

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.

NasdaqGS:PEBO Income Statement, December 17th 2019
NasdaqGS:PEBO Income Statement, December 17th 2019

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Peoples Bancorp’s forecast profits?

Are Peoples Bancorp Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. As a result, I’m encouraged by the fact that insiders own Peoples Bancorp shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$19m worth of its stock. That’s a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that’s only about 2.7% of the company, it’s enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I’d say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Peoples Bancorp with market caps between US$400m and US$1.6b is about US$2.6m.

The Peoples Bancorp CEO received US$1.4m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Does Peoples Bancorp Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, Peoples Bancorp’s raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. If that’s not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Peoples Bancorp is worth keeping an eye on. Once you’ve identified a business you like, the next step is to consider what you think it’s worth. And right now is your chance to view our exclusive discounted cashflow valuation of Peoples Bancorp. You might benefit from giving it a glance today.

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.

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.