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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 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 Reliant Bancorp (NASDAQ:RBNC). While that doesn’t make the shares worth buying at any price, you can’t deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

See our latest analysis for Reliant Bancorp

How Quickly Is Reliant Bancorp Increasing Earnings Per Share?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Reliant Bancorp’s EPS has grown 32% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we’d expect shareholders to come away winners.

I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company’s growth. Not all of Reliant Bancorp’s revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I’ve used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. Reliant Bancorp maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 95% to US$130m. That’s progress.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

earnings-and-revenue-history

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Reliant Bancorp’s forecast profits?

Are Reliant Bancorp Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. 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.

While Reliant Bancorp insiders did net -US$47k selling stock over the last year, they invested US$590k, a much higher figure. You could argue that level of buying implies genuine confidence in the business. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by William Fitzgerald for US$112k worth of shares, at about US$15.39 per share.

On top of the insider buying, it’s good to see that Reliant Bancorp insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold US$40m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Those holdings account for over 8.1% of the company; visible skin in the game.

While insiders are apparently happy to hold and accumulate shares, that is just part of the pretty picture. That’s because on our analysis the CEO, DeVan Ard, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Reliant Bancorp with market caps between US$200m and US$800m is about US$1.5m.

The Reliant Bancorp CEO received US$785k in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Is Reliant Bancorp Worth Keeping An Eye On?

You can’t deny that Reliant Bancorp has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That’s attractive. On top of that, insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. So I do think this is one stock worth watching. We should say that we’ve discovered 4 warning signs for Reliant Bancorp (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

The good news is that Reliant Bancorp is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here’s a list of them… 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.

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.

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