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Is Now The Time To Put Rio Tinto Group (LON:RIO) On Your Watchlist?

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·4 min read
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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 Rio Tinto Group (LON:RIO). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. 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 Rio Tinto Group

How Fast Is Rio Tinto Group Growing?

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). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Rio Tinto Group's EPS has grown 27% each year, compound, over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.

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. The good news is that Rio Tinto Group is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 17.3 percentage points to 47%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.

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

While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Rio Tinto Group?

Are Rio Tinto Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since Rio Tinto Group has a market capitalization of UK£78b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they hold US$22m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.03% 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? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Rio Tinto Group, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$3.7m.

Rio Tinto Group offered total compensation worth US$3.3m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Should You Add Rio Tinto Group To Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Rio Tinto Group'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. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Rio Tinto Group is worth keeping an eye on. Still, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Rio Tinto Group (including 1 which is significant) .

Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.

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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