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 completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
Bega Cheese's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. We can see that in the last three years Bega Cheese grew its 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. While we note Bega Cheese's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 39% to AU$2.1b. That's progress.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. 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 Bega Cheese's forecast profits?
Are Bega Cheese Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
We note that Bega Cheese insiders spent AU$244k on stock, over the last year; in contrast, we didn't see any selling. That puts the company in a nice light, as it makes me think its leaders are feeling confident. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by Non-Executive Director George Kilpatrick for AU$55k worth of shares, at about AU$5.49 per share.
Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Bega Cheese is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they hold AU$49m worth of its stock. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 3.0% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. The cherry on top is that the CEO, Paul van Heerwaarden is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations between AU$1.3b and AU$4.3b, like Bega Cheese, the median CEO pay is around AU$1.9m.
The Bega Cheese CEO received AU$1.6m in compensation for the year ending . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Should You Add Bega Cheese To Your Watchlist?
One positive for Bega Cheese is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. On top of that, we've seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. That makes the company a prime candidate for my watchlist - and arguably a research priority. We don't want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 2 warning signs for Bega Cheese that you need to be mindful of.
The good news is that Bega Cheese is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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.
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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