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 as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like MTU Aero Engines (ETR:MTX). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Quickly Is MTU Aero Engines Increasing Earnings Per Share?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, MTU Aero Engines has grown EPS by 14% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. While MTU Aero Engines did well to grow revenue over the last year, EBIT margins were dampened at the same time. So it seems the future my hold further growth, especially if EBIT margins can stabilize.
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.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of MTU Aero Engines's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are MTU Aero Engines Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I always like to check up on CEO compensation, because I think that reasonable pay levels, around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. For companies with market capitalizations over €7.2b, like MTU Aero Engines, the median CEO pay is around €4.1m.
MTU Aero Engines offered total compensation worth €2.8m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Is MTU Aero Engines Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One important encouraging feature of MTU Aero Engines is that it is growing profits. On top of that, my faith in the board of directors is strengthened by the fact of the reasonable CEO pay. So I do think the stock deserves further research, if not instant addition to your watchlist. 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 MTU Aero Engines.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies 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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