Stantec Inc. (TSE:STN) Stock's Been Sliding But Fundamentals Look Decent: Will The Market Correct The Share Price In The Future?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 15, 2020
TSX:STN
Source: Shutterstock

Stantec (TSE:STN) has had a rough three months with its share price down 7.5%. However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on Stantec's ROE.

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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Stantec

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Stantec is:

9.0% = CA$182m ÷ CA$2.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every CA$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated CA$0.09 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. 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 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 Stantec's Earnings Growth And 9.0% ROE

At first glance, Stantec's ROE doesn't look very promising. However, its ROE is similar to the industry average of 8.2%, so we won't completely dismiss the company. Having said that, Stantec has shown a modest net income growth of 6.6% over the past five years. Taking into consideration that the ROE is not particularly high, we reckon that there could also be other factors at play which could be influencing the company's 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.

As a next step, we compared Stantec's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 8.8% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
TSX:STN Past Earnings Growth October 16th 2020

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Stantec fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Stantec Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

With a three-year median payout ratio of 37% (implying that the company retains 63% of its profits), it seems that Stantec is reinvesting efficiently in a way that it sees respectable amount growth in its earnings and pays a dividend that's well covered.

Additionally, Stantec has paid dividends over a period of nine years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like Stantec has some positive aspects to its business. That is, a decent growth in earnings backed by a high rate of reinvestment. However, we do feel that that earnings growth could have been higher if the business were to improve on the low ROE rate. Especially given how the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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