Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase ‘the next big thing’, even if that means buying ‘story stocks’ without revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in CapitaLand (SGX:C31). 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.
How Quickly Is CapitaLand Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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. It’s no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. It certainly is nice to see that CapitaLand has managed to grow EPS by 19% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we’d expect shareholders to come away winners.
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. Not all of CapitaLand’s revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I’ve used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. The good news is that CapitaLand is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 5.8 percentage points to 40%, 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. For finer detail, click on the image.
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 CapitaLand.
Are CapitaLand Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I always like to check up on CEO compensation, because I think that reasonable pay levels, around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. For companies with market capitalizations over S$11b, like CapitaLand, the median CEO pay is around S$6.1m.
CapitaLand offered total compensation worth S$4.2m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Should You Add CapitaLand To Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, CapitaLand’s raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. The fast growth bodes well while the very reasonable CEO pay assists builds some confidence in the board. So I’d argue this is the kind of stock worth watching, even if it isn’t great value today. Now, you could try to make up your mind on CapitaLand by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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