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 Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Live Oak Bancshares (NASDAQ:LOB). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. 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.
How Fast Is Live Oak Bancshares 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 makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Who among us would not applaud Live Oak Bancshares's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 44%, compound, over the last three years? While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a crow with a sparkly stone.
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 Live Oak Bancshares'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. Live Oak Bancshares maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 83% to US$439m. That's a real positive.
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.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Live Oak Bancshares's forecast profits?
Are Live Oak Bancshares 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 Live Oak Bancshares insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$518m. That equates to 25% of the company, making insiders powerful and aligned with other shareholders. So it might be my imagination, but I do sense the glimmer of an opportunity.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations between US$1.0b and US$3.2b, like Live Oak Bancshares, the median CEO pay is around US$4.2m.
The CEO of Live Oak Bancshares only received US$884k in total compensation for the year ending . That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does Live Oak Bancshares Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Live Oak Bancshares's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Live Oak Bancshares certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. We don't want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 4 warning signs for Live Oak Bancshares (2 are concerning!) that you need to be mindful of.
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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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.
Live Oak Bancshares
Live Oak Bancshares, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Live Oak Banking Company that provides various commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, and professionals in North Carolina, the United States.
Excellent balance sheet and fair value.