We Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And Old Mutual (JSE ...

19 days ago

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 as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' 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.

Old Mutual - Figure 1
Photo Yahoo Movies

Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like Old Mutual (JSE:OMU). Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.

Check out our latest analysis for Old Mutual

How Fast Is Old Mutual 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 makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. To the delight of shareholders, Old Mutual has achieved impressive annual EPS growth of 46%, compound, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches the eye of prospective investors.

Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. Not all of Old Mutual's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers used in this article might not be the best representation of the underlying business. The music to the ears of Old Mutual shareholders is that EBIT margins have grown from 8.0% to 14% in the last 12 months and revenues are on an upwards trend as well. Both of which are great metrics to check off for potential growth.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history

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 Old Mutual's future EPS 100% free.

Are Old Mutual Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Prior to investment, it's always a good idea to check that the management team is paid reasonably. Pay levels around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. For companies with market capitalisations between R36b and R115b, like Old Mutual, the median CEO pay is around R23m.

Old Mutual's CEO took home a total compensation package worth R18m in the year leading up to December 2023. 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.

Should You Add Old Mutual To Your Watchlist?

Old Mutual's earnings have taken off in quite an impressive fashion. This appreciable increase in earnings could be a sign of an upward trajectory for the company. At the same time the reasonable CEO compensation reflects well on the board of directors. It will definitely require further research to be sure, but it does seem that Old Mutual has the hallmarks of a quality business; and that would make it well worth watching. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Old Mutual (at least 1 which can't be ignored) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

Although Old Mutual certainly looks good, it may appeal to more investors if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see companies with more skin in the game, then check out this handpicked selection of South African companies that not only boast of strong growth but have strong insider backing.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email [email protected]

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