STEF's (EPA:STF) stock up by 8.5% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study STEF's ROE in this article.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
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 STEF is:
8.8% = €72m ÷ €818m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every €1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn €0.09 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.
STEF's Earnings Growth And 8.8% ROE
To start with, STEF's ROE looks acceptable. Even when compared to the industry average of 8.0% the company's ROE looks quite decent. Despite this, STEF's five year net income growth was quite flat over the past five years. We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that's limiting the company's growth. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that STEF's earnings seems to be shrinking at a similar rate as the industry which shrunk at a rate of a rate of 0.008% in the same period.
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). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Has the market priced in the future outlook for STF? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is STEF Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Despite having a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 32% (meaning the company retains68% of profits) in the last three-year period, STEF's earnings growth was more or les flat. So there could be some other explanation in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.
Additionally, STEF has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 34%. Still, forecasts suggest that STEF's future ROE will rise to 11% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.
On the whole, we do feel that STEF 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 industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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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