Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase ‘the next big thing’, even if that means buying ‘story stocks’ without revenue, let alone profit. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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.
Vulcan Materials’s Earnings Per Share Are 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. We can see that in the last three years Vulcan Materials grew its EPS by 16% per year. That’s a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
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. While we note Vulcan Materials’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 6.9% to US$5.0b. That’s a real positive.
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 Vulcan Materials.
Are Vulcan Materials Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don’t know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
While we did see insider selling of Vulcan Materials stock in the last year, one single insider spent plenty more buying. To wit, Independent Director David Steiner outlaid US$465k for shares, at about US$93.00 per share. That certainly pricks my ears up.
Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Vulcan Materials is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they hold US$42m worth of its stock. That’s a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that’s only about 0.2% of the company, it’s enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. That’s because on our analysis the CEO, Tom Hill, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Vulcan Materials, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$11m.
Vulcan Materials offered total compensation worth US$9.6m 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does Vulcan Materials Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
One positive for Vulcan Materials is that it is growing EPS. That’s nice to see. Better yet, insiders are significant shareholders, and have been buying more shares. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. What about risks? Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Vulcan Materials you should know about.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Vulcan Materials, 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.
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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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