Stock Analysis

# Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSE:GWO) Stock's Been Sliding But Fundamentals Look Decent: Will The Market Correct The Share Price In The Future?

Great-West Lifeco (TSE:GWO) has had a rough three months with its share price down 5.2%. 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 Great-West Lifeco's ROE in this article.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Great-West Lifeco

## How To 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 Great-West Lifeco is:

12% = CA\$3.5b ÷ CA\$30b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every CA\$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn CA\$0.12 in profit.

## What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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 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.

## Great-West Lifeco's Earnings Growth And 12% ROE

At first glance, Great-West Lifeco seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 12%. This probably goes some way in explaining Great-West Lifeco's moderate 5.1% growth over the past five years amongst other factors.

As a next step, we compared Great-West Lifeco'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 15% in the same period.

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Great-West Lifeco is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

## Is Great-West Lifeco Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

While Great-West Lifeco has a three-year median payout ratio of 50% (which means it retains 50% of profits), the company has still seen a fair bit of earnings growth in the past, meaning that its high payout ratio hasn't hampered its ability to grow.

Additionally, Great-West Lifeco has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 53% of its profits over the next three years.

## Summary

Overall, we feel that Great-West Lifeco certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Its earnings growth is decent, and the high ROE does contribute to that growth. However, investors could have benefitted even more from the high ROE, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings. On studying current analyst estimates, we found that analysts expect the company to continue its recent growth streak. 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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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.