Do iFAST's (SGX:AIY) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 29, 2021
SGX:AIY
Source: Shutterstock

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 iFAST (SGX:AIY), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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.

View our latest analysis for iFAST

How Fast Is iFAST Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that iFAST has grown EPS by 42% per year, over the last three years. Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but like a lotus blooming from a murky pond, it sparks joy for the wary stock pickers.

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. The good news is that iFAST is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 4.9 percentage points to 17%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history
SGX:AIY Earnings and Revenue History November 30th 2021

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 iFAST.

Are iFAST 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. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own iFAST shares worth a considerable sum. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth S$758m. That equates to 33% of the company, making insiders powerful and aligned with other shareholders. Very encouraging.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like iFAST with market caps between S$1.4b and S$4.4b is about S$1.5m.

The iFAST CEO received S$1.1m in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Should You Add iFAST To Your Watchlist?

iFAST's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. Big growth can make big winners, so I do think iFAST is worth considering carefully. One of Buffett's considerations when discussing businesses is if they are capital light or capital intensive. Generally, a company with a high return on equity is capital light, and can thus fund growth more easily. So you might want to check this graph comparing iFAST's ROE with industry peers (and the market at large).

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.

Discounted cash flow calculation for every stock

Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

Make Confident Investment Decisions

Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.