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. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Elixirr International (LON:ELIX). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
Elixirr International's Improving Profits
Even modest earnings per share growth (EPS) can create meaningful value, when it is sustained reliably from year to year. So EPS growth can certainly encourage an investor to take note of a stock. Like the last firework on New Year's Eve accelerating into the sky, Elixirr International's EPS shot from UK£0.12 to UK£0.22, over the last year. You don't see 87% year-on-year growth like that, very often. That could be a sign that the business has reached a true inflection point.
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 we note Elixirr International's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 67% to UK£51m. That's a real positive.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.
Are Elixirr International 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 Elixirr International insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. In fact, they own 52% of the company, so they will share in the same delights and challenges experienced by the ordinary shareholders. 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£165m. That means they have plenty of their own capital riding on the performance of the business!
Should You Add Elixirr International To Your Watchlist?
Elixirr International's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So to my mind Elixirr International is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. We should say that we've discovered 1 warning sign for Elixirr International that you should be aware of before investing here.
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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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.