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Here's Why We Think Autoliv (NYSE:ALV) Is Well Worth Watching

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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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Autoliv (NYSE:ALV). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

View our latest analysis for Autoliv

Autoliv's Improving Profits

Even with very modest growth rates, a company will usually do well if it improves earnings per share (EPS) year after year. So EPS growth can certainly encourage an investor to take note of a stock. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, Autoliv's EPS soared from US$3.08 to US$4.13, in just one year. That's a commendable gain of 34%.

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 Autoliv's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 3.4% to US$8.1b. That's progress.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

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 Autoliv's future profits.

Are Autoliv Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$6.5b company like Autoliv. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. To be specific, they have US$15m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.2% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

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 Autoliv, the median CEO pay is around US$8.2m.

The Autoliv CEO received total compensation of just US$3.2m in the year to . That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Does Autoliv Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Autoliv's strong EPS growth. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. Each to their own, but I think all this makes Autoliv look rather interesting indeed. Still, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Autoliv .

Although Autoliv certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.

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

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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.

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