Here's Why I Think Ferrexpo (LON:FXPO) Is An Interesting Stock

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 08, 2022
LSE:FXPO
Source: Shutterstock

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. 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 Ferrexpo (LON:FXPO), 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. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

View our latest analysis for Ferrexpo

How Quickly Is Ferrexpo Increasing Earnings Per Share?

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. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. Who among us would not applaud Ferrexpo's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 47%, compound, over the last three years? That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.

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. Ferrexpo shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 31% to 56%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

earnings-and-revenue-history
LSE:FXPO Earnings and Revenue History January 8th 2022

The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future Ferrexpo EPS 100% free.

Are Ferrexpo 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 Ferrexpo insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. In fact, they own 51% 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. At the current share price, that insider holding is worth a whopping US$929m. 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. For companies with market capitalizations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like Ferrexpo, the median CEO pay is around US$1.8m.

Ferrexpo offered total compensation worth US$1.5m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Is Ferrexpo Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Ferrexpo's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Ferrexpo certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Ferrexpo (at least 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

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.

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