Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. 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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR). 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.
How Quickly Is Lamar Advertising Increasing Earnings Per Share?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Lamar Advertising managed to grow EPS by 8.1% per year, over three years. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
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. Lamar Advertising shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 26% to 30%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
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.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Lamar Advertising's forecast profits?
Are Lamar Advertising Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$11b company like Lamar Advertising. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$633m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Lamar Advertising, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$13m.
The CEO of Lamar Advertising only received US$5.9m 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. 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. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Should You Add Lamar Advertising To Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Lamar Advertising is that it is growing profits. Earnings growth might be the main game for Lamar Advertising, but the fun does not stop there. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I'd argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. What about risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Lamar Advertising you should know about.
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.