Here's Why I Think Freedom Holding (NASDAQ:FRHC) Is An Interesting Stock

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 29, 2021
NasdaqCM:FRHC
Source: Shutterstock

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 as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Freedom Holding (NASDAQ:FRHC), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.

View our latest analysis for Freedom Holding

How Fast Is Freedom Holding Growing Its Earnings Per Share?

In business, though not in life, profits are a key measure of success; and share prices tend to reflect earnings per share (EPS). So like a ray of sunshine through a gap in the clouds, improving EPS is considered a good sign. It is therefore awe-striking that Freedom Holding's EPS went from US$0.95 to US$5.90 in just one year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company. But the key is discerning whether something profound has changed, or if this is a just a one-off boost.

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). While we note Freedom Holding's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 268% to US$613m. That's progress.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

earnings-and-revenue-history
NasdaqCM:FRHC Earnings and Revenue History December 29th 2021

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 Freedom Holding's balance sheet strength, before getting too excited.

Are Freedom Holding Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Many consider high insider ownership to be a strong sign of alignment between the leaders of a company and the ordinary shareholders. So as you can imagine, the fact that Freedom Holding insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. Indeed, with a collective holding of 72%, company insiders are in control and have plenty of capital behind the venture. This makes me think they will be incentivised to plan for the long term - something I like to see. At the current share price, that insider holding is worth a whopping US$3.0b. Now that's what I call some serious skin in the game!

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Freedom Holding with market caps between US$2.0b and US$6.4b is about US$5.2m.

The CEO of Freedom Holding only received US$302k in total compensation for the year ending . 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 Freedom Holding Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Freedom Holding's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. Freedom Holding certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. Still, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Freedom Holding (including 1 which is potentially serious) .

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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