Investors are often guided by the idea of discovering ‘the next big thing’, even if that means buying ‘story stocks’ without any revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, these high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson. Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital – so investors should be cautious that they’re not throwing good money after bad.
Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like Argo Investments (ASX:ARG). Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.
How Quickly Is Argo Investments 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) outcomes. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Argo Investments has grown EPS by 6.2% per year. That might not be particularly high growth, but it does show that per-share earnings are moving steadily in the right direction.
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 Argo Investments’ revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers used in this article might not be the best representation of the underlying business. EBIT margins for Argo Investments remained fairly unchanged over the last year, however the company should be pleased to report its revenue growth for the period of 25% to AU$331m. That’s progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.
Are Argo Investments Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It’s a necessity that company leaders act in the best interest of shareholders and so insider investment always comes as a reassurance to the market. Shareholders will be pleased by the fact that insiders own Argo Investments shares worth a considerable sum. Holding AU$105m worth of stock in the company is no laughing matter and insiders will be committed in delivering the best outcomes for shareholders. This would indicate that the goals of shareholders and management are one and the same.
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. For companies with market capitalisations between AU$5.8b and AU$17b, like Argo Investments, the median CEO pay is around AU$3.8m.
The Argo Investments CEO received total compensation of just AU$1.2m in the year to June 2022. First impressions seem to indicate a compensation policy that is favourable to shareholders. 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. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Should You Add Argo Investments To Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Argo Investments is that it is growing profits. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Argo Investments, but the pleasant picture gets better than that. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. We should say that we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Argo Investments that you should be aware of before investing here.
The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
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