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

In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Times China Holdings (HKG:1233). 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. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.

See our latest analysis for Times China Holdings

Times China Holdings’s Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Times China Holdings has grown EPS by 43% per year, over the last three years. That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.

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 Times China Holdings is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.5 percentage points to 26%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

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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.

SEHK:1233 Income Statement, October 8th 2019
SEHK:1233 Income Statement, October 8th 2019

You don’t drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Times China Holdings’s future profits.

Are Times China Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Many consider high insider ownership to be a strong sign of alignment between the leaders of a company and the ordinary shareholders. So we’re pleased to report that Times China Holdings insiders own a meaningful share of the business. In fact, they own 66% of the company, so they will share in the same delights and challenges experienced by the ordinary shareholders. To me this is a good sign because it suggests they will be incentivised to build value for shareholders over the long term. At the current share price, that insider holding is worth a whopping CN¥16b. Now that’s what I call some serious skin in the game!

Does Times China Holdings Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Times China Holdings’s earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So to my mind Times China Holdings is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. Another important measure of business quality not discussed here, is return on equity (ROE). Click on this link to see how Times China Holdings shapes up to industry peers, when it comes to ROE.

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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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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