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Austin Engineering's (ASX:ANG) three-year earnings growth trails the impressive shareholder returns

The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But in contrast you can make much more than 100% if the company does well. For example, the Austin Engineering Limited (ASX:ANG) share price has soared 227% in the last three years. That sort of return is as solid as granite. It's also good to see the share price up 48% over the last quarter. The company reported its financial results recently; you can catch up on the latest numbers by reading our company report.

The past week has proven to be lucrative for Austin Engineering investors, so let's see if fundamentals drove the company's three-year performance.

Check out our latest analysis for Austin Engineering

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

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During three years of share price growth, Austin Engineering achieved compound earnings per share growth of 24% per year. In comparison, the 48% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. It is quite common to see investors become enamoured with a business, after a few years of solid progress.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We know that Austin Engineering has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Austin Engineering, it has a TSR of 239% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Austin Engineering shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 34% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 20% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on Australian exchanges.

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.