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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Improving Profits
Over the last three years, Royal Bank of Scotland Group has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don't think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like the last firework on New Year's Eve accelerating into the sky, Royal Bank of Scotland Group's EPS shot from UK£0.063 to UK£0.17, over the last year. Year on year growth of 164% is certainly a sight to behold.
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. Not all of Royal Bank of Scotland Group's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. While Royal Bank of Scotland Group may have maintained EBIT margins over the last year, revenue has fallen. And that does make me a little more cautious of the stock.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future Royal Bank of Scotland Group EPS 100% free.
Are Royal Bank of Scotland Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Royal Bank of Scotland Group has a market capitalization of UK£27b, 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. To be specific, they have UK£11m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 0.04% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Is Royal Bank of Scotland Group Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Royal Bank of Scotland Group's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders certainly brightens my view of the company. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So to my mind Royal Bank of Scotland Group is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Royal Bank of Scotland Group by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
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
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.