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. 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 COSCO SHIPPING Holdings (HKG:1919), 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. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
COSCO SHIPPING Holdings's Improving Profits
In a capitalist society capital chases profits, and that means share prices tend rise with earnings per share (EPS). So like a ray of sunshine through a gap in the clouds, improving EPS is considered a good sign. You can imagine, then, that it almost knocked my socks off when I realized that COSCO SHIPPING Holdings grew its EPS from CN¥0.50 to CN¥2.15, in one short year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement. But the key is discerning whether something profound has changed, or if this is a just a one-off boost.
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. COSCO SHIPPING Holdings shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 3.8% to 17%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.
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 COSCO SHIPPING Holdings?
Are COSCO SHIPPING Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
As a general rule, I think it worth considering how much the CEO is paid, since unreasonably high rates could be considered against the interests of shareholders. For companies with market capitalizations over CN¥52b, like COSCO SHIPPING Holdings, the median CEO pay is around CN¥6.0m.
COSCO SHIPPING Holdings offered total compensation worth CN¥4.0m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Should You Add COSCO SHIPPING Holdings To Your Watchlist?
COSCO SHIPPING Holdings's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. With rocketing profits, its seems likely the business has a rosy future; and it may have hit an inflection point. At the same time the reasonable CEO compensation reflects well on the board of directors. While I couldn't be sure without a deeper dive, it does seem that COSCO SHIPPING Holdings has the hallmarks of a quality business; and that would make it well worth watching. We don't want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 3 warning signs for COSCO SHIPPING Holdings (1 is potentially serious!) that you need to be mindful of.
Although COSCO SHIPPING Holdings 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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