Here’s Why I Think Hong Kong and China Gas (HKG:3) Is An Interesting Stock

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Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. But as Warren Buffett has mused, ‘If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.’ When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Hong Kong and China Gas (HKG:3), 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. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

See our latest analysis for Hong Kong and China Gas

How Quickly Is Hong Kong and China Gas Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Hong Kong and China Gas managed to grow EPS by 8.5% per year, over three years. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

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. On the one hand, Hong Kong and China Gas’s EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.

SEHK:3 Income Statement, July 15th 2019
SEHK:3 Income Statement, July 15th 2019

Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Hong Kong and China Gas.

Are Hong Kong and China Gas Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don’t always get it right.

One shining light for Hong Kong and China Gas is the serious outlay one insider has made to buy shares, in the last year. Specifically, in one large transaction Independent Non-Executive Director Kwok-Po Li paid HK$16m, for stock at HK$14.49 per share. It doesn’t get much better than that, in terms of large investments from insiders.

On top of the insider buying, it’s good to see that Hong Kong and China Gas insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at HK$900m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.

Is Hong Kong and China Gas Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One important encouraging feature of Hong Kong and China Gas is that it is growing profits. On top of that, we’ve seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. To me, that all makes it well worth a spot on your watchlist, as well as continuing research. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Hong Kong and China Gas by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Hong Kong and China Gas, you’ll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.