Should Weakness in F5 Networks, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FFIV) Stock Be Seen As A Sign That Market Will Correct The Share Price Given Decent Financials?

F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) has had a rough month with its share price down 1.4%. However, the company’s fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. Specifically, we decided to study F5 Networks’ ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company’s shareholders.

Check out our latest analysis for F5 Networks

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for F5 Networks is:

15% = US$325m ÷ US$2.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The ‘return’ is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders’ capital it has, the company made $0.15 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or “retains” for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of F5 Networks’ Earnings Growth And 15% ROE

To start with, F5 Networks’ ROE looks acceptable. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 5.9% the company’s ROE looks pretty remarkable. Yet, F5 Networks has posted measly growth of 3.0% over the past five years. This is interesting as the high returns should mean that the company has the ability to generate high growth but for some reason, it hasn’t been able to do so. Such a scenario is likely to take place when a company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

As a next step, we compared F5 Networks’ net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company’s growth is lower than the industry average growth of 5.8% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
NasdaqGS:FFIV Past Earnings Growth August 10th 2020

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company’s expected earnings growth (or decline). 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 FFIV? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is F5 Networks Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

F5 Networks doesn’t pay any dividend, which means that it is retaining all of its earnings. However, this doesn’t explain the low earnings growth the company has seen. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that F5 Networks has some positive attributes. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company’s fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst’s forecasts page for the company.

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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.
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