Here’s Why I Think Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE:BHLB) Is An Interesting Stock

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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE:BHLB). 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.

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Check out our latest analysis for Berkshire Hills Bancorp

How Quickly Is Berkshire Hills Bancorp Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you’d expect a company’s share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. We can see that in the last three years Berkshire Hills Bancorp grew its EPS by 5.8% per year. While that sort of growth rate isn’t amazing, it does show the business is growing.

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. I note that Berkshire Hills Bancorp’s revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. While we note Berkshire Hills Bancorp’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 12% to US$449m. That’s a real positive.

You can take a look at the company’s revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NYSE:BHLB Income Statement, May 23rd 2019
NYSE:BHLB Income Statement, May 23rd 2019

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 Berkshire Hills Bancorp’s future profits.

Are Berkshire Hills Bancorp 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. As a result, I’m encouraged by the fact that insiders own Berkshire Hills Bancorp shares worth a considerable sum. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at US$88m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. That’s certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.

It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$1.0b and US$3.2b, like Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the median CEO pay is around US$4.1m.

The CEO of Berkshire Hills Bancorp only received US$1.5m in total compensation for the year ending December 2018. That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Does Berkshire Hills Bancorp Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, Berkshire Hills Bancorp is a growing business, which is what I like to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Berkshire Hills Bancorp, 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 Berkshire Hills Bancorp 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.

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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.