It's common for many investors, especially those who are inexperienced, to buy shares in companies with a good story even if these companies are loss-making. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, so investors in these companies may be taking on more risk than they should.
In contrast to all that, many investors prefer to focus on companies like Meridian Energy (NZSE:MEL), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if this company is fairly valued by the market, investors would agree that generating consistent profits will continue to provide Meridian Energy with the means to add long-term value to shareholders.
How Fast Is Meridian Energy 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) outcomes. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Meridian Energy has grown EPS by 12% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
It's often helpful to take a look at earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. On the revenue front, Meridian Energy has done well over the past year, growing revenue by 29% to NZ$4.3b but EBIT margin figures were less stellar, seeing a decline over the last 12 months. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. While crystal balls don't exist, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for Meridian Energy's future EPS 100% free.
Are Meridian Energy Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
As a general rule, it's worth considering how much the CEO is paid, since unreasonably high rates could be considered against the interests of shareholders. For companies with market capitalisations between NZ$6.4b and NZ$19b, like Meridian Energy, the median CEO pay is around NZ$3.2m.
Meridian Energy's CEO took home a total compensation package worth NZ$2.3m in the year leading up to June 2021. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given it's below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Does Meridian Energy Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Meridian Energy is that it is growing profits. On top of that, our faith in the board of directors is strengthened by the fact of the reasonable CEO pay. All things considered, Meridian Energy is definitely worth taking a deeper dive into. It is worth noting though that we have found 2 warning signs for Meridian Energy that you need to take into consideration.
There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you 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.
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