Here’s Why I Think Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) Is An Interesting Stock

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 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 the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

View our latest analysis for Sonoco Products

How Quickly Is Sonoco Products Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you’d expect a company’s share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. We can see that in the last three years Sonoco Products grew its EPS by 8.2% per year. That’s a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.

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. While we note Sonoco Products’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 7.0% to US$5.4b. That’s a real positive.

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.

NYSE:SON Income Statement, April 16th 2019
NYSE:SON Income Statement, April 16th 2019

The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future Sonoco Products EPS 100% free.

Are Sonoco Products Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$6.3b company like Sonoco Products. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$121m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders’ interests when making decisions!

Is Sonoco Products Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One positive for Sonoco Products is that it is growing EPS. That’s nice to see. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Once you’ve identified a business you like, the next step is to consider what you think it’s worth. And right now is your chance to view our exclusive discounted cashflow valuation of Sonoco Products. You might benefit from giving it a glance today.

Although Sonoco Products certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.