Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Donaldson Company (NYSE:DCI). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Quickly Is Donaldson Company 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). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Donaldson Company's EPS has grown 23% each year, compound, 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 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. Donaldson Company reported flat revenue and EBIT margins over the last year. That's not a major concern but nor does it point to the long term growth we like to see.
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.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Donaldson Company's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are Donaldson Company Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Donaldson Company has a market capitalization of US$8.0b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. To be specific, they have US$36m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.4% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
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$4.0b and US$12b, like Donaldson Company, the median CEO pay is around US$6.6m.
Donaldson Company offered total compensation worth US$5.5m to its CEO in the year to . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Does Donaldson Company Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Donaldson Company has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. 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 Donaldson Company look rather interesting indeed. If you think Donaldson Company 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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