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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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Seacoast Banking of Florida (NASDAQ:SBCF). 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. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
Seacoast Banking of Florida’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. It certainly is nice to see that Seacoast Banking of Florida has managed to grow EPS by 35% 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 smiling.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). I note that Seacoast Banking of Florida’s revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Seacoast Banking of Florida maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 6.9% to US$261m. That’s progress.
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 Seacoast Banking of Florida’s forecast profits?.
Are Seacoast Banking of Florida 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 Seacoast Banking of Florida shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$26m worth of its stock. That’s a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 1.8%, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. 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 Seacoast Banking of Florida, the median CEO pay is around US$3.9m.
The Seacoast Banking of Florida CEO received total compensation of just US$1.5m in the year to December 2018. That’s clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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.
Does Seacoast Banking of Florida Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Seacoast Banking of Florida’s strong EPS growth. If that’s not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. Each to their own, but I think all this makes Seacoast Banking of Florida look rather interesting indeed. If you think Seacoast Banking of Florida might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.