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. 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.
So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like 3M India (NSE:3MINDIA). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. 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.
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3M India’s Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, 3M India’s EPS has grown 26% each year, compound, over three years. As a result, we can understand why the stock trades on a high multiple of trailing twelve month earnings.
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. 3M India shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 17% to 19%, 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 profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.
Are 3M India Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. So it is good to see that 3M India insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they hold ₹955m worth of its stock. That’s a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 0.4% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Should You Add 3M India To Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about 3M India’s strong EPS growth. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn’t surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. Another important measure of business quality not discussed here, is return on equity (ROE). Click on this link to see how 3M India shapes up to industry peers, when it comes to ROE.
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.