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 Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Virbac (EPA:VIRP), 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.
How Fast Is Virbac Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
Even modest earnings per share growth (EPS) can create meaningful value, when it is sustained reliably from year to year. So it's no surprise that some investors are more inclined to invest in profitable businesses. It is therefore awe-striking that Virbac's EPS went from €6.13 to €19.32 in just one year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement.
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). While we note Virbac's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 3.4% to €985m. That's progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Virbac's future profits.
Are Virbac Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Personally, I like to see high insider ownership of a company, since it suggests that it will be managed in the interests of shareholders. So we're pleased to report that Virbac insiders own a meaningful share of the business. In fact, they own 50% of the shares, making insiders a very influential shareholder group. I'm reassured by this kind of alignment, as it suggests the business will be run for the benefit of shareholders. And their holding is extremely valuable at the current share price, totalling €1.6b. Now that's what I call some serious skin in the game!
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. 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 Virbac with market caps between €1.7b and €5.5b is about €1.5m.
The CEO of Virbac only received €580k 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 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.
Is Virbac Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Virbac's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Virbac certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. Don't forget that there may still be risks. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Virbac that you should be aware of.
Although Virbac certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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