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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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like GCP Applied Technologies (NYSE:GCP), 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. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
GCP Applied Technologies's Improving Profits
In a capitalist society capital chases profits, and that means share prices tend rise with earnings per share (EPS). So like the hint of a smile on a face that I love, growing EPS generally makes me look twice. It is therefore awe-striking that GCP Applied Technologies's EPS went from US$0.34 to US$1.51 in just one year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). While we note GCP Applied Technologies's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 3.2% to US$967m. That's progress.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of GCP Applied Technologies's forecast profits?
Are GCP Applied Technologies Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.
First things first; I didn't see insiders sell GCP Applied Technologies shares in the last year. But the really good news is that Independent Director Armand Lauzon spent US$390k buying stock stock, at an average price of around US$24.36. Big buys like that give me a sense of opportunity; actions speak louder than words.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that GCP Applied Technologies insiders have a valuable investment in the business. To be specific, they have US$23m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 1.4% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Is GCP Applied Technologies Worth Keeping An Eye On?
GCP Applied Technologies's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The incing on the cake is that insiders own a large chunk of the company and one has even been buying more shares. This quick rundown suggests that the business may be of good quality, and also at an inflection point, so maybe GCP Applied Technologies deserves timely attention. Before you take the next step you should know about the 2 warning signs for GCP Applied Technologies that we have uncovered.
As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But GCP Applied Technologies isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
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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