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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like DaVita (NYSE:DVA). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Fast Is DaVita Growing?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that DaVita has grown EPS by 43% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a crow with a sparkly stone.
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. Not all of DaVita's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. DaVita reported flat revenue and EBIT margins over the last year. That's not a major concern but nor does it point to the long term growth we like to see.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of DaVita's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are DaVita Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$9.5b company like DaVita. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$309m. 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. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like DaVita with market caps between US$4.0b and US$12b is about US$8.2m.
The CEO of DaVita only received US$3.3m in total compensation for the year ending . That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does DaVita Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
DaVita's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. DaVita certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. Before you take the next step you should know about the 1 warning sign for DaVita that we have uncovered.
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.
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.