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. A loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the inflow of external capital may dry up.
In contrast to all that, many investors prefer to focus on companies like Mainfreight (NZSE:MFT), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While this doesn't necessarily speak to whether it's undervalued, the profitability of the business is enough to warrant some appreciation - especially if its growing.
View our latest analysis for Mainfreight
How Fast Is Mainfreight 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) outcomes. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. To the delight of shareholders, Mainfreight has achieved impressive annual EPS growth of 37%, compound, over the last three years. That sort of growth rarely ever lasts long, but it is well worth paying attention to when it happens.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. While we note Mainfreight achieved similar EBIT margins to last year, revenue grew by a solid 47% to NZ$5.2b. That's encouraging news for the company!
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.
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 Mainfreight's future profits.
Are Mainfreight Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It's pleasing to see company leaders with putting their money on the line, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that Mainfreight insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they have a considerable amount of wealth invested in it, currently valued at NZ$1.4b. Coming in at 18% of the business, that holding gives insiders a lot of influence, and plenty of reason to generate value for shareholders. Looking very optimistic for investors.
Is Mainfreight Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Mainfreight's earnings per share growth have been climbing higher at an appreciable rate. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders should certainly brighten the view of the company. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point, so there's a potential opportunity to be had here. So based on this quick analysis, we do think it's worth considering Mainfreight for a spot on your watchlist. Of course, just because Mainfreight is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you 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.
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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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