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. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?’ Leuz et. al. found that it is ‘quite common’ for investors to lose money by buying into ‘pump and dump’ schemes.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like American States Water (NYSE:AWR). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it’s easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. 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 Quickly Is American States Water Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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. We can see that in the last three years American States Water grew its EPS by 12% per year. That’s a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
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. American States Water shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 24% to 27%, and revenue is growing. 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. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of American States Water’s forecast profits?
Are American States Water 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. As a result, I’m encouraged by the fact that insiders own American States Water shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$40m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that’s only about 1.4% 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 American States Water with market caps between US$2.0b and US$6.4b is about US$5.4m.
American States Water offered total compensation worth US$3.0m to its CEO in the year to . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Should You Add American States Water To Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of American States Water is that it is growing profits. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for American States Water, but the pretty picture gets better than that. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. Before you take the next step you should know about the 1 warning sign for American States Water that we have uncovered.
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 email@example.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.
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