Do IDP Education’s (ASX:IEL) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

It’s only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in ‘sexy’ stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. 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.

So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like IDP Education (ASX:IEL). 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. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for IDP Education

IDP Education’s Earnings Per Share Are 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). It’s no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, IDP Education’s EPS has grown 24% each year, compound, over three years. This has no doubt fuelled the optimism that sees the stock trading on a high multiple of earnings.

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. The good news is that IDP Education is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 2.3 percentage points to 19%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

ASX:IEL Income Statement June 20th 2020

Fortunately, we’ve got access to analyst forecasts of IDP Education’s future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are IDP Education Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I always like to check up on CEO compensation, because I think that reasonable pay levels, around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like IDP Education with market caps between AU$2.9b and AU$9.3b is about AU$3.2m.

The IDP Education CEO received AU$2.3m in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. 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. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Is IDP Education Worth Keeping An Eye On?

For growth investors like me, IDP Education’s raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. The fast growth bodes well while the very reasonable CEO pay assists builds some confidence in the board. So I’d venture it may well deserve a spot on your watchlist, or even a little further research. We should say that we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for IDP Education that you should be aware of before investing here.

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.

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. 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. Thank you for reading.

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