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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like TowneBank (NASDAQ:TOWN). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it’s easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. 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.
How Fast Is TowneBank Growing?
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, TowneBank has grown EPS by 15% per year. That’s a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company’s growth. Not all of TowneBank’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. While we note TowneBank’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 18% to US$524m. That’s a real positive.
The chart below shows how the company’s bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of TowneBank’s forecast profits?.
Are TowneBank 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 TowneBank shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$213m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like TowneBank with market caps between US$1.0b and US$3.2b is about US$3.6m.
TowneBank offered total compensation worth US$1.8m to its CEO in the year to December 2017. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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.
Is TowneBank Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One positive for TowneBank is that it is growing EPS. That’s nice to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for TowneBank, but the pretty picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I’d argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. If you think TowneBank 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.