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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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Webjet (ASX:WEB), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Fast Is Webjet 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). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Webjet's EPS has grown 19% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
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. Not all of Webjet's revenue last year was revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. The good news is that Webjet is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.2 percentage points to 14%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Webjet.
Are Webjet Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. 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.
It's a pleasure to note that insiders spent AU$3.6m buying Webjet shares, over the last year, without reporting any share sales whatsoever. As if for a flower bud approaching bloom, I become an expectant observer, anticipating with hope, that something splendid is coming. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by MD & Executive Director John Guscic for AU$2.9m worth of shares, at about AU$11.50 per share.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Webjet insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at AU$293m. That equates to 13% of the company, making insiders powerful and aligned with other shareholders. Very encouraging.
Does Webjet Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Webjet's strong EPS growth. Not only that, but we can see that insiders both own a lot of, and are buying more, shares in the company. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Webjet by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Webjet, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.