It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Lam Soon (Hong Kong) (HKG:411). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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.
How Fast Is Lam Soon (Hong Kong) 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). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Lam Soon (Hong Kong) has grown EPS by 7.6% per year. 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. It seems Lam Soon (Hong Kong) is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not a major concern but nor does it point to the long term growth we like to see.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.
Are Lam Soon (Hong Kong) 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. So it is good to see that Lam Soon (Hong Kong) insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at HK$508m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. That holding amounts to 14% of the stock on issue, thus making insiders influential, and aligned, owners of the business.
Should You Add Lam Soon (Hong Kong) To Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Lam Soon (Hong Kong) is that it is growing profits. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Still, you should learn about the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Lam Soon (Hong Kong) .
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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