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Here's Why We Think FW Thorpe (LON:TFW) Is Well Worth Watching

Simply Wall St

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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.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like FW Thorpe (LON:TFW), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. 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.

View our latest analysis for FW Thorpe

How Fast Is FW Thorpe 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). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. We can see that in the last three years FW Thorpe grew its EPS by 11% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

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). It seems FW Thorpe is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not bad, but it doesn't point to ongoing future growth, either.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

AIM:TFW Income Statement, June 11th 2019

While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.

Are FW Thorpe Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Personally, I like to see high insider ownership of a company, since it suggests that it will be managed in the interests of shareholders. So as you can imagine, the fact that FW Thorpe insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. Indeed, with a collective holding of 56%, company insiders are in control and have plenty of capital behind the venture. To me this is a good sign because it suggests they will be incentivised to build value for shareholders over the long term. At the current share price, that insider holding is worth a whopping UK£206m. That means they have plenty of their own capital riding on the performance of the business!

Is FW Thorpe Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One important encouraging feature of FW Thorpe is that it is growing profits. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. The combination sparks joy for me, so I'd consider keeping the company on a watchlist. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if FW Thorpe is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.