# Is Sonic Healthcare Limited's (ASX:SHL) Stock's Recent Performance A Reflection Of Its Financial Health?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 27, 2021

Sonic Healthcare's (ASX:SHL) stock up by 7.2% over the past three months. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. Specifically, we decided to study Sonic Healthcare's ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. 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 Sonic Healthcare

### How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Sonic Healthcare is:

21% = AU\$1.3b ÷ AU\$6.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A\$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A\$0.21 in profit.

### Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.

### Sonic Healthcare's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE

To begin with, Sonic Healthcare seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 12% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. Probably as a result of this, Sonic Healthcare was able to see an impressive net income growth of 20% over the last five years. However, there could also be other causes behind this growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

As a next step, we compared Sonic Healthcare's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 3.8%.

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Sonic Healthcare fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

### Is Sonic Healthcare Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Sonic Healthcare's significant three-year median payout ratio of 69% (where it is retaining only 31% of its income) suggests that the company has been able to achieve a high growth in earnings despite returning most of its income to shareholders.

Moreover, Sonic Healthcare is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 68%. Regardless, Sonic Healthcare's ROE is speculated to decline to 9.5% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

### Summary

On the whole, we feel that Sonic Healthcare's performance has been quite good. Especially the high ROE, Which has contributed to the impressive growth seen in earnings. Despite the company reinvesting only a small portion of its profits, it still has managed to grow its earnings so that is appreciable. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company's earnings are expected to shrink in the future. 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.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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### Simply Wall St

Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.