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. 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 contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like M/I Homes (NYSE:MHO), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Quickly Is M/I Homes Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that M/I Homes has grown EPS by 55% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a crow with a sparkly stone.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. I note that M/I Homes's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. M/I Homes shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 12% to 14%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
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.
While it's always good to see growing profits, you should always remember that a weak balance sheet could come back to bite. So check M/I Homes's balance sheet strength, before getting too excited.
Are M/I Homes 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 M/I Homes shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$30m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 2.4% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Does M/I Homes Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
M/I Homes's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So yes, on this short analysis I do think it's worth considering M/I Homes for a spot on your watchlist. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with M/I Homes (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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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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.