Is Rentokil Initial’s (LON:RTO) Share Price Gain Of 254% Well Earned?

The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don’t use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. For instance, the price of Rentokil Initial plc (LON:RTO) stock is up an impressive 254% over the last five years. It’s also good to see the share price up 20% over the last quarter.

See our latest analysis for Rentokil Initial

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

Over half a decade, Rentokil Initial managed to grow its earnings per share at 2.1% a year. We note, however, that extraordinary items have impacted earnings. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 29% per year, over the same period. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

LSE:RTO Past and Future Earnings, August 30th 2019
LSE:RTO Past and Future Earnings, August 30th 2019

It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Rentokil Initial’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Rentokil Initial, it has a TSR of 282% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It’s nice to see that Rentokil Initial shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 37% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 31% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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

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.