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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. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Shoe Carnival (NASDAQ:SCVL). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
Shoe Carnival's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Shoe Carnival has grown EPS by 57% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a crow with a sparkly stone.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. Shoe Carnival shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 9.4% to 14%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.
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.
While it's always good to see growing profits, you should always remember that a weak balance sheet could come back to bite. So check Shoe Carnival's balance sheet strength, before getting too excited.
Are Shoe Carnival Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Many consider high insider ownership to be a strong sign of alignment between the leaders of a company and the ordinary shareholders. So as you can imagine, the fact that Shoe Carnival insiders own a significant number of shares certainly appeals to me. Actually, with 38% of the company to their names, insiders are profoundly invested in the business. I'm reassured by this kind of alignment, as it suggests the business will be run for the benefit of shareholders. And their holding is extremely valuable at the current share price, totalling US$281m. Now that's what I call some serious skin in the game!
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$400m and US$1.6b, like Shoe Carnival, the median CEO pay is around US$3.9m.
Shoe Carnival offered total compensation worth US$2.2m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Does Shoe Carnival Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Shoe Carnival's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. Shoe Carnival certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. What about risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Shoe Carnival (of which 1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) you should know about.
Although Shoe Carnival certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
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.