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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like China Communications Services (HKG:552). Now, I’m not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can’t shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. 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.
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How Quickly Is China Communications Services Increasing Earnings Per Share?
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. China Communications Services managed to grow EPS by 7.5% per year, over three years. While that sort of growth rate isn’t amazing, it does show the business is growing.
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. While we note China Communications Services’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 12% to CN¥106b. That’s a real positive.
The chart below shows how the company’s bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
While we live in the present moment at all times, there’s no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for China Communications Services?
Are China Communications Services Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I always like to check up on CEO compensation, because I think that reasonable pay levels, around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like China Communications Services with market caps between CN¥28b and CN¥83b is about CN¥3.1m.
The China Communications Services CEO received total compensation of just CN¥921k in the year to December 2017. That’s clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Is China Communications Services Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One important encouraging feature of China Communications Services is that it is growing profits. Not only that, but the CEO is paid quite reasonably, which makes me feel more trusting of the board of directors. So all in all I think it’s worth at least considering for your watchlist. 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 China Communications Services is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Although China Communications Services 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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