Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. But as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Total Telcom (CVE:TTZ), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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.
How Quickly Is Total Telcom 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). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Total Telcom has grown EPS by 5.3% per year. That might not be particularly high growth, but it does show that per-share earnings are moving steadily in the right direction.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). Total Telcom reported flat revenue and EBIT margins over the last year. That's not bad, but it doesn't point to ongoing future growth, either.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Since Total Telcom is no giant, with a market capitalization of CA$3.3m, so you should definitely check its cash and debt before getting too excited about its prospects.
Are Total Telcom 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. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
The good news for Total Telcom shareholders is that no insiders reported selling shares in the last year. With that in mind, it's heartening that Neil Magrath, the Chairman of the company, paid CA$55k for shares at around CA$0.10 each.
I do like that insiders have been buying shares in Total Telcom, but there is more evidence of shareholder friendly management. I refer to the very reasonable level of CEO pay. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Total Telcom with market caps under CA$257m is about CA$203k.
Total Telcom offered total compensation worth CA$130k 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 Total Telcom To Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Total Telcom is that it is growing profits. Like chocolate chips in vanilla ice cream, the insider buying, and modest CEO pay, make it better. If that doesn't automatically earn it a spot on your watchlist then I'd posit it warrants a closer look at the very least. Don't forget that there may still be risks. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Total Telcom (2 shouldn't be ignored) you should be aware of.
The good news is that Total Telcom 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.
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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.