Does Kainos Group (LON:KNOS) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 14, 2021
LSE:KNOS
Source: Shutterstock

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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Kainos Group (LON:KNOS), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. 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.

View our latest analysis for Kainos Group

Kainos Group's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Who among us would not applaud Kainos Group's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 48%, 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.

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. Kainos Group shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 13% to 21%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

earnings-and-revenue-history
LSE:KNOS Earnings and Revenue History September 14th 2021

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Kainos Group's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Kainos Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Kainos Group shares worth a considerable sum. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth UK£604m. Coming in at 25% of the business, that holding gives insiders a lot of influence, and plenty of reason to generate value for shareholders. So it might be my imagination, but I do sense the glimmer of an opportunity.

It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between UK£1.4b and UK£4.6b, like Kainos Group, the median CEO pay is around UK£1.2m.

The CEO of Kainos Group only received UK£591k 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. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Should You Add Kainos Group To Your Watchlist?

Kainos Group'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. Kainos Group 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 Kainos Group that you should be aware of.

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.

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