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It’s only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in ‘sexy’ stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, ‘Long shots almost never pay off.’
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Marine Products (NYSE:MPX). While that doesn’t make the shares worth buying at any price, you can’t deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
Marine Products’s Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Impressively, Marine Products has grown EPS by 26% per year, compound, in the last three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we’d expect shareholders to come away winners.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). Marine Products maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 11% to US$304m. That’s progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.
Are Marine Products 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. So it is good to see that Marine Products insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at US$62m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. That holding amounts to 13% of the stock on issue, thus making insiders influential, and aligned, owners of the business.
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. For companies with market capitalizations between US$200m and US$800m, like Marine Products, the median CEO pay is around US$1.8m.
The Marine Products CEO received US$1.2m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. While the level of CEO compensation isn’t a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Should You Add Marine Products To Your Watchlist?
You can’t deny that Marine Products has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That’s attractive. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don’t forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Marine Products is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of Marine Products.
Although Marine Products certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you’re looking for.
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.