Stock Analysis

Are Robust Financials Driving FirstService's Stock Price?

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Most readers would already be aware that FirstService's (TSE:FSV) stock increased significantly by 15% over the past month. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. Particularly, we will be paying attention to FirstService's ROE today.

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 FirstService

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 FirstService is:

13% = US$136m ÷ US$1.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each CA$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made CA$0.13 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of FirstService's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

To begin with, FirstService seems to have a respectable ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 13% the company's ROE looks quite decent. This certainly adds some context to FirstService's exceptional 23% net income growth seen over the past five years. We believe that there might also be other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

We then compared FirstService's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 18% in the same period.

TSX:FSV Past Earnings Growth January 26th 2023

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is FirstService fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is FirstService Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

The three-year median payout ratio for FirstService is 27%, which is moderately low. The company is retaining the remaining 73%. By the looks of it, the dividend is well covered and FirstService is reinvesting its profits efficiently as evidenced by its exceptional growth which we discussed above.

Besides, FirstService has been paying dividends over a period of eight years. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 20% over the next three years. However, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much despite the lower expected payout ratio.


Overall, we are quite pleased with FirstService's performance. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a sizeable growth in its earnings. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. 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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