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 currently lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.
So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Arista Networks (NYSE:ANET). 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.
Arista Networks' Earnings Per Share Are Growing
Generally, companies experiencing growth in earnings per share (EPS) should see similar trends in share price. So it makes sense that experienced investors pay close attention to company EPS when undertaking investment research. Shareholders will be happy to know that Arista Networks' EPS has grown 31% each year, compound, over three years. If growth like this continues on into the future, then shareholders will have plenty to smile about.
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 Arista Networks is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.6 percentage points to 36%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Arista Networks' future profits.
Are Arista Networks Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$57b company like Arista Networks. But thanks to their investment in the company, it's pleasing to see that there are still incentives to align their actions with the shareholders. Indeed, they have a considerable amount of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$11b. This totals to 19% of shares in the company. Enough to lead management's decision making process down a path that brings the most benefit to shareholders. So there is opportunity here to invest in a company whose management have tangible incentives to deliver.
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. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to Arista Networks, with market caps over US$8.0b, is around US$12m.
Arista Networks' CEO took home a total compensation package worth US$11m in the year leading up to December 2022. That is actually below the median for CEO's of similarly sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when it's reasonable, that gives a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. Generally, arguments can be made that reasonable pay levels attest to good decision-making.
Does Arista Networks Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
For growth investors, Arista Networks' raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to investing but it definitely makes Arista Networks look rather interesting indeed. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Arista Networks , and understanding it 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.
What are the risks and opportunities for Arista Networks?
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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.