Investors are often guided by the idea of discovering 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without any revenue, let alone profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.
Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like Popular (NASDAQ:BPOP). While profit isn't the sole metric that should be considered when investing, it's worth recognising businesses that can consistently produce it.
Popular's Earnings Per Share Are Growing
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price should eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. It certainly is nice to see that Popular has managed to grow EPS by 27% per year over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be beaming.
Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. It's noted that Popular's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort our analysis of its margins. While we note Popular achieved similar EBIT margins to last year, revenue grew by a solid 8.9% to US$2.8b. That's a real positive.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Popular's future profits.
Are Popular Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$5.2b company like Popular. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Holding US$95m worth of stock in the company is no laughing matter and insiders will be committed in delivering the best outcomes for shareholders. That's certainly enough to let shareholders know that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
While it's always good to see some strong conviction in the company from insiders through heavy investment, it's also important for shareholders to ask if management compensation policies are reasonable. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalisations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like Popular, the median CEO pay is around US$8.6m.
Popular's CEO took home a total compensation package worth US$5.1m in the year leading up to December 2021. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies and seems pretty reasonable. While the level of CEO compensation shouldn't be the biggest factor in how the company is viewed, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. Generally, arguments can be made that reasonable pay levels attest to good decision-making.
Does Popular Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Popular has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to investing but it definitely makes Popular look rather interesting indeed. Still, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Popular (including 1 which is concerning).
The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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.
What are the risks and opportunities for Popular?
Trading at 60.9% below our estimate of its fair value
Earnings grew by 18% over the past year
Earnings are forecast to decline by an average of 25% per year for the next 3 years
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.