Investing in Silgan Holdings (NASDAQ:SLGN) three years ago would have delivered you a 41% gain

·3 min read

One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But many of us dare to dream of bigger returns, and build a portfolio ourselves. For example, Silgan Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SLGN) shareholders have seen the share price rise 35% over three years, well in excess of the market return (23%, not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 2.8% , including dividends .

Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

See our latest analysis for Silgan Holdings

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Silgan Holdings was able to grow its EPS at 18% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is higher than the 11% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Silgan Holdings' TSR for the last 3 years was 41%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Silgan Holdings has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 2.8% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 7% a year, is even better. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks, for example - Silgan Holdings has 2 warning signs (and 1 which can't be ignored) we think you should know about.

Of course Silgan Holdings may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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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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