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. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Elton International Trading (ATH:ELTON). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
Elton International Trading's Improving Profits
Even modest earnings per share growth (EPS) can create meaningful value, when it is sustained reliably from year to year. So EPS growth can certainly encourage an investor to take note of a stock. It's good to see that Elton International Trading's EPS have grown from €0.12 to €0.13 over twelve months. I doubt many would complain about that 11% gain.
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). It seems Elton International Trading is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not bad, but it doesn't point to ongoing future growth, either.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
Elton International Trading isn't a huge company, given its market capitalization of €35m. That makes it extra important to check on its balance sheet strength.
Are Elton International Trading 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 Elton International Trading insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. In fact, they own 75% of the company, so they will share in the same delights and challenges experienced by the ordinary shareholders. This makes me think they will be incentivised to plan for the long term - something I like to see. In terms of absolute value, insiders have €26m invested in the business, using the current share price. That should be more than enough to keep them focussed on creating shareholder value!
Is Elton International Trading Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One important encouraging feature of Elton International Trading is that it is growing profits. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. The combination sparks joy for me, so I'd consider keeping the company on a watchlist. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Elton International Trading (at least 1 which shouldn't be ignored) , 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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Elton International Trading
Elton International Trading Company S.A. engages in trading raw materials, additives, chemicals, and other specialized products in Greece, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.
Proven track record with mediocre balance sheet.