IPH (ASX:IPH) has had a rough three months with its share price down 24%. It is possible that the markets have ignored the company’s differing financials and decided to lean-in to the negative sentiment. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it’s worth paying close attention. Particularly, we will be paying attention to IPH’s ROE today.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company’s success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for IPH is:
13% = AU$56m ÷ AU$421m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).
The ‘return’ is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every A$1 worth of shareholders’ equity, the company generated A$0.13 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
So far, we’ve learnt that ROE is a measure of a company’s profitability. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or “retain”, we are then able to evaluate a company’s future ability to generate profits. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don’t necessarily bear these characteristics.
IPH’s Earnings Growth And 13% ROE
To begin with, IPH seems to have a respectable ROE. Yet, the fact that the company’s ROE is lower than the industry average of 17% does temper our expectations. IPH was still able to see a decent net income growth of 11% over the past five years. So, there might be other aspects that are positively influencing earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company’s management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio. However, not to forget, the company does have a decent ROE to begin with, just that it is lower than the industry average. So this also does lend some color to the fairly high earnings growth seen by the company.
We then compared IPH’s net income growth with the industry and found that the company’s growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 25% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for IPH? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is IPH Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
IPH has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 96%, meaning that it is left with only 4.4% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.
Moreover, IPH is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of five years of paying a dividend. Based on the latest analysts’ estimates, we found that the company’s future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 81%. However, IPH’s ROE is predicted to rise to 21% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by IPH can be open to many interpretations. As noted earlier, its earnings growth has been quite decent, and the decent ROE does contribute to that growth. Still, the company invests little to almost none of its profits. This could potentially reduce the odds that the company continues to see the same level of growth in the future. The latest industry analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to maintain its current growth rate. To know more about the company’s future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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.