I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And Longfor Group Holdings (HKG:960) Passed With Ease

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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. 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.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Longfor Group Holdings (HKG:960). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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 Longfor Group Holdings

How Quickly Is Longfor Group Holdings 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). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. It certainly is nice to see that Longfor Group Holdings has managed to grow EPS by 22% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.

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. Longfor Group Holdings maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 61% to CN¥116b. That's progress.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

SEHK:960 Income Statement, May 15th 2019

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 Longfor Group Holdings.

Are Longfor Group Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.

Although we did see some insider selling (worth -CN¥26.6m) this was overshadowed by a mountain of buying, totalling CN¥640m in just one year. This makes me even more interested in Longfor Group Holdings because it suggests that those who understand the company best, are optimistic. It is also worth noting that it was Chairperson of the Board Yajun Wu who made the biggest single purchase, worth HK$200m, paying HK$22.70 per share.

On top of the insider buying, we can also see that Longfor Group Holdings insiders own a large chunk of the company. In fact, they own 50% of the shares, making insiders a very influential shareholder group. I'm always comforted by solid insider ownership like this, as it implies that those running the business are genuinely motivated to create shareholder value. At the current share price, that insider holding is worth a whopping CN¥84b. Now that's what I call some serious skin in the game!

Should You Add Longfor Group Holdings To Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, Longfor Group Holdings's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. On top of that, insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Longfor Group Holdings by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But Longfor Group Holdings isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.

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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.