Stock Analysis

Here's Why We Think Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Is Well Worth Watching

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NYSE:DRI
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Investors are often guided by the idea of discovering 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without any revenue, let alone 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. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.

In contrast to all that, many investors prefer to focus on companies like Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.

View our latest analysis for Darden Restaurants

How Fast Is Darden Restaurants Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price should eventually follow. So it makes sense that experienced investors pay close attention to company EPS when undertaking investment research. Darden Restaurants managed to grow EPS by 10% per year, over three years. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. The music to the ears of Darden Restaurants shareholders is that EBIT margins have grown from 9.1% to 12% in the last 12 months and revenues are on an upwards trend as well. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in our book.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.

earnings-and-revenue-history
NYSE:DRI Earnings and Revenue History August 9th 2022

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 Darden Restaurants' future profits.

Are Darden Restaurants Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$15b company like Darden Restaurants. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. With a whopping US$73m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to let shareholders know 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? Well, based on the CEO pay, you'd argue that they are indeed. For companies with market capitalisations over US$8.0b, like Darden Restaurants, the median CEO pay is around US$13m.

Darden Restaurants' CEO took home a total compensation package of US$3.8m in the year prior to May 2021. First impressions seem to indicate a compensation policy that is favourable to shareholders. While the level of CEO compensation shouldn't be the biggest factor in how the company is viewed, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Should You Add Darden Restaurants To Your Watchlist?

As previously touched on, Darden Restaurants is a growing business, which is encouraging. The growth of EPS may be the eye-catching headline for Darden Restaurants, but there's more to bring joy for shareholders. With company insiders aligning themselves considerably with the company's success and modest CEO compensation, there's no arguments that this is a stock worth looking into. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Darden Restaurants , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Darden Restaurants is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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About NYSE:DRI

Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation3
Future Growth2
Past Performance4
Financial Health4
Dividends4

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Proven track record with adequate balance sheet and pays a dividend.