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. 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 IDEXX Laboratories (NASDAQ:IDXX). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Fast Is IDEXX Laboratories Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. It certainly is nice to see that IDEXX Laboratories has managed to grow EPS by 35% per year over three years. As a result, we can understand why the stock trades on a high multiple of trailing twelve month earnings.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. The good news is that IDEXX Laboratories is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 4.4 percentage points to 28%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of IDEXX Laboratories's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are IDEXX Laboratories Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since IDEXX Laboratories has a market capitalization of US$48b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$464m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!
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. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like IDEXX Laboratories, the median CEO pay is around US$11m.
IDEXX Laboratories offered total compensation worth US$7.0m to its CEO in the year to . 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does IDEXX Laboratories Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about IDEXX Laboratories's strong EPS growth. 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 IDEXX Laboratories is worth keeping an eye on. We should say that we've discovered 2 warning signs for IDEXX Laboratories that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
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What are the risks and opportunities for IDEXX Laboratories?
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IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. develops, manufactures, and distributes products and services primarily for the companion animal veterinary, livestock and poultry, dairy, and water testing markets worldwide.
Adequate balance sheet with moderate growth potential.