I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) Passed With Ease

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 11, 2022
NYSE:NFG
Source: Shutterstock

It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. 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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG). 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.

See our latest analysis for National Fuel Gas

How Fast Is National Fuel Gas 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. Over the last three years, National Fuel Gas has grown EPS by 15% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. The good news is that National Fuel Gas is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 2.8 percentage points to 36%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.

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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
NYSE:NFG Earnings and Revenue History May 11th 2022

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 National Fuel Gas.

Are National Fuel Gas Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since National Fuel Gas has a market capitalization of US$6.1b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$101m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!

It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like National Fuel Gas, the median CEO pay is around US$8.2m.

National Fuel Gas offered total compensation worth US$7.0m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Should You Add National Fuel Gas To Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of National Fuel Gas is that it is growing profits. Earnings growth might be the main game for National Fuel Gas, 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. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 2 warning signs for National Fuel Gas that you should be aware of.

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.

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

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