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Here's Why Woodside Energy Group (ASX:WDS) Has Caught The Eye Of Investors

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 as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.

If this kind of company isn't your style, you like companies that generate revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Woodside Energy Group (ASX:WDS). While profit isn't the sole metric that should be considered when investing, it's worth recognising businesses that can consistently produce it.

View our latest analysis for Woodside Energy Group

How Quickly Is Woodside Energy Group Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price should eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Woodside Energy Group has grown EPS by 9.6% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

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. The music to the ears of Woodside Energy Group shareholders is that EBIT margins have grown from 17% to 51% in the last 12 months and revenues are on an upwards trend as well. Both of which are great metrics to check off for potential growth.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Woodside Energy Group's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Woodside Energy Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Insider interest in a company always sparks a bit of intrigue and many investors are on the lookout for companies where insiders are putting their money where their mouth is. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

Not only did Woodside Energy Group insiders refrain from selling stock during the year, but they also spent US$209k buying it. That's nice to see, because it suggests insiders are optimistic. We also note that it was the Independent Non-Executive Director, Ann Pickard, who made the biggest single acquisition, paying AU$48k for shares at about AU$28.61 each.

The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Woodside Energy Group bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. To be specific, they have US$20m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. While their ownership only accounts for 0.03%, this is still a considerable amount at stake to encourage the business to maintain a strategy that will deliver value to shareholders.

While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Meg O’Neill, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalisations over US$8.0b, like Woodside Energy Group, the median CEO pay is around US$4.1m.

Woodside Energy Group's CEO took home a total compensation package worth US$3.5m in the year leading up to December 2021. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies and seems pretty reasonable. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when it's reasonable, that gives a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. Generally, arguments can be made that reasonable pay levels attest to good decision-making.

Does Woodside Energy Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

As previously touched on, Woodside Energy Group is a growing business, which is encouraging. In addition, insiders have been busy adding to their sizeable holdings in the company. That should do plenty in prompting budding investors to undertake a bit more research - or even adding the company to their watchlists. Still, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Woodside Energy Group (including 2 which shouldn't be ignored).

The good news is that Woodside Energy Group is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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