Stock Analysis

Does SouthState (NASDAQ:SSB) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

NYSE:SSB
Source: Shutterstock

The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, so investors in these companies may be taking on more risk than they should.

So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like SouthState (NASDAQ:SSB). Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.

Check out our latest analysis for SouthState

SouthState'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 you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Over the last three years, SouthState has grown EPS by 13% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

It's often helpful to take a look at earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. Not all of SouthState's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers used in this article might not be the best representation of the underlying business. EBIT margins for SouthState remained fairly unchanged over the last year, however the company should be pleased to report its revenue growth for the period of 9.0% to US$1.6b. That's encouraging news for the company!

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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
NasdaqGS:SSB Earnings and Revenue History July 12th 2023

While we live in the present moment, there's little doubt that the future matters most in the investment decision process. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for SouthState?

Are SouthState Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Owing to the size of SouthState, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a significant proportion of the company. But thanks to their investment in the company, it's pleasing to see that there are still incentives to align their actions with the shareholders. As a matter of fact, their holding is valued at US$48m. This considerable investment should help drive long-term value in the business. Even though that's only about 0.9% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

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. Well, based on the CEO pay, you'd argue that they are indeed. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to SouthState, with market caps between US$4.0b and US$12b, is around US$8.0m.

SouthState's CEO took home a total compensation package worth US$5.4m in the year leading up to December 2022. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Should You Add SouthState To Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of SouthState is that it is growing profits. The growth of EPS may be the eye-catching headline for SouthState, but there's more to bring joy for shareholders. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. What about risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for SouthState (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether SouthState is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.