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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in PL Group (WSE:PLG). 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. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
PL Group’s Improving Profits
Over the last three years, PL Group has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don’t think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like the last firework on New Year’s Eve accelerating into the sky, PL Group’s EPS shot from zł0.082 to zł0.16, over the last year. You don’t see 95% year-on-year growth like that, very often.
One way to double-check a company’s growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. PL Group’s EBIT margins have actually improved by 54.1 percentage points in the last year, to reach 92%, but, on the flip side, revenue was down 6.2%. That’s not ideal.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
Since PL Group is no giant, with a market capitalization of zł8.9m, so you should definitely check its cash and debt before getting too excited about its prospects.
Are PL Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Many consider high insider ownership to be a strong sign of alignment between the leaders of a company and the ordinary shareholders. So as you can imagine, the fact that PL Group insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. In fact, they own 63% of the company, so they will share in the same delights and challenges experienced by the ordinary shareholders. To me this is a good sign because it suggests they will be incentivised to build value for shareholders over the long term. Of course, PL Group is a very small company, with a market cap of only zł8.9m. That means insiders only have zł5.6m worth of shares, despite the large proportional holding. That might not be a huge sum but it should be enough to keep insiders motivated!
Is PL Group Worth Keeping An Eye On?
PL Group’s earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So to my mind PL Group is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. What about risks? Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 5 warning signs for PL Group (of which 3 are significant!) you should know about.
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.
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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