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 currently lacks a track record of revenue and profit. Unfortunately, these high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson. 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.
So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF). While profit isn't the sole metric that should be considered when investing, it's worth recognising businesses that can consistently produce it.
How Quickly Is Synchrony Financial Increasing Earnings Per Share?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price should eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Synchrony Financial has grown EPS by 16% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained. EPS growth figures have also been helped by share buybacks, showing the market that the company is in a position of financial strength, allowing it to return capital to shareholders.
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. It's noted that Synchrony Financial's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort our analysis of its margins. EBIT margins for Synchrony Financial remained fairly unchanged over the last year, however the company should be pleased to report its revenue growth for the period of 9.6% to US$9.1b. That's encouraging news for the company!
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.
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 Synchrony Financial.
Are Synchrony Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Synchrony Financial has a market capitalisation of US$17b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But thanks to their investment in the company, it's pleasing to see that there are still incentives to align their actions with the shareholders. Given insiders own a significant chunk of shares, currently valued at US$97m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. That's certainly enough to let shareholders know that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
While it's always good to see some strong conviction in the company from insiders through heavy investment, it's also important for shareholders to ask if management compensation policies are reasonable. Well, based on the CEO pay, you'd argue that they are indeed. The median total compensation for CEOs of companies similar in size to Synchrony Financial, with market caps over US$8.0b, is around US$13m.
Synchrony Financial's CEO took home a total compensation package worth US$8.9m in the year leading up to December 2021. 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. Generally, arguments can be made that reasonable pay levels attest to good decision-making.
Does Synchrony Financial Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Synchrony Financial is that it is growing profits. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Synchrony Financial, but the pleasant picture gets better than that. With company insiders aligning themselves considerably with the company's success and modest CEO compensation, there's no arguments that this is a stock worth looking into. It is worth noting though that we have found 2 warning signs for Synchrony Financial (1 is significant!) that you need to take into consideration.
The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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. 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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