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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.
So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Alpha FX Group (LON:AFX). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Fast Is Alpha FX Group Growing?
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you’d expect a company’s share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Who among us would not applaud Alpha FX Group’s stratospheric annual EPS growth of 50%, compound, over the last three years? Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but like a lotus blooming from a murky pond, it sparks joy for the wary stock pickers.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. On the one hand, Alpha FX Group’s EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.
While it’s always good to see growing profits, you should always remember that a weak balance sheet could come back to bite. So check Alpha FX Group’s balance sheet strength, before getting too excited.
Are Alpha FX 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 Alpha FX Group insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. Actually, with 44% of the company to their names, insiders are profoundly invested in the business. I’m always comforted by solid insider ownership like this, as it implies that those running the business are genuinely motivated to create shareholder value. In terms of absolute value, insiders have UK£122m invested in the business, using the current share price. That should be more than enough to keep them focussed on creating shareholder value!
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. For companies with market capitalizations between UK£161m and UK£644m, like Alpha FX Group, the median CEO pay is around UK£690k.
The CEO of Alpha FX Group only received UK£315k in total compensation for the year ending December 2018. That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. 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.
Does Alpha FX Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Alpha FX Group’s earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. 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. Big growth can make big winners, so I do think Alpha FX Group is worth considering carefully. While we’ve looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven’t yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if Alpha FX Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Although Alpha FX Group 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
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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. Thank you for reading.