The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. Sometimes these stories can cloud the minds of investors, leading them to invest with their emotions rather than on the merit of good company fundamentals. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, so investors in these companies may be taking on more risk than they should.
So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Italgas (BIT:IG). 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.
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. It's good to see that Italgas' EPS has grown from €0.47 to €0.53 over twelve months. That's a 13% gain; respectable growth in the broader scheme of things.
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 Italgas achieved similar EBIT margins to last year, revenue grew by a solid 15% to €2.5b. That's encouraging news for the company!
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Italgas.
It should give investors a sense of security owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, creating a close alignment their interests. So it is good to see that Italgas insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Holding €72m worth of stock in the company is no laughing matter and insiders will be committed in delivering the best outcomes for shareholders. This would indicate that the goals of shareholders and management are one and the same.
One important encouraging feature of Italgas is that it is growing profits. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. These two factors are a huge highlight for the company which should be a strong contender your watchlists. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 2 warning signs for Italgas (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of.
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.