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. 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. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.
So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Metro (TSE:MRU). 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 Fast Is Metro Growing?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. We can see that in the last three years Metro grew its EPS by 13% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.
Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. While revenue is looking a bit flat, the good news is EBIT margins improved by 7.5 percentage points to 7.5%, in the last twelve months. That's something to smile about.
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.
While we live in the present moment, there's little doubt that the future matters most in the investment decision process. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Metro?
Are Metro Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Owing to the size of Metro, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a significant proportion of the company. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. As a matter of fact, their holding is valued at CA$41m. 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, you'd argue that they are indeed. Our analysis has discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Metro, with market caps over CA$10b, is about CA$9.4m.
Metro's CEO took home a total compensation package worth CA$5.0m in the year leading up to September 2021. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given it's below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation shouldn't be the biggest factor in how the company is viewed, 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.
Is Metro Worth Keeping An Eye On?
As previously touched on, Metro is a growing business, which is encouraging. The growth of EPS may be the eye-catching headline for Metro, but there's more to bring joy for shareholders. With company insiders aligning themselves considerably with the company's success and modest CEO compensation, there's no arguments that this is a stock worth looking into. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of Metro.
Although Metro certainly looks good, it may appeal to more investors if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, 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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