It's common for many investors, especially those who are inexperienced, to buy shares in companies with a good story even if these companies are loss-making. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, so investors in these companies may be taking on more risk than they should.
Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like Patterson Companies (NASDAQ:PDCO). While this doesn't necessarily speak to whether it's undervalued, the profitability of the business is enough to warrant some appreciation - especially if its growing.
How Quickly Is Patterson Companies Increasing Earnings Per Share?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. So it makes sense that experienced investors pay close attention to company EPS when undertaking investment research. It certainly is nice to see that Patterson Companies has managed to grow EPS by 32% per year over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be beaming.
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. Patterson Companies maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 9.5% to US$6.5b. That's a real positive.
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.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Patterson Companies.
Are Patterson Companies Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It's pleasing to see company leaders with putting their money on the line, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. Patterson Companies followers will find comfort in knowing that insiders have a significant amount of capital that aligns their best interests with the wider shareholder group. To be specific, they have US$25m worth of shares. This considerable investment should help drive long-term value in the business. Even though that's only about 0.8% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
While it's always good to see some strong conviction in the company from insiders through heavy investment, it's also important for shareholders to ask if management compensation policies are reasonable. Our quick analysis into CEO remuneration would seem to indicate they are. For companies with market capitalisations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like Patterson Companies, the median CEO pay is around US$6.9m.
The Patterson Companies CEO received US$4.8m in compensation for the year ending April 2021. That is actually below the median for CEO's of similarly sized companies. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does Patterson Companies Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Patterson Companies has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. If you still have your doubts, remember too that company insiders have a considerable investment aligning themselves with the shareholders and CEO pay is quite modest compared to similarly sized companiess. The overarching message here is that Patterson Companies has underlying strengths that make it worth a look at. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Patterson Companies (at least 1 which shouldn't be ignored) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you 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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
Find out whether Patterson Companies 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.View the Free Analysis