It is hard to get excited after looking at Far Eastern Department Stores' (TPE:2903) recent performance, when its stock has declined 10% over the past three months. It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. In this article, we decided to focus on Far Eastern Department Stores' ROE.
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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for return on equity is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Far Eastern Department Stores is:
6.1% = NT$2.4b ÷ NT$39b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every NT$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn NT$0.06 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.
Far Eastern Department Stores' Earnings Growth And 6.1% ROE
When you first look at it, Far Eastern Department Stores' ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 6.1%, we may spare it some thought. However, Far Eastern Department Stores has seen a flattish net income growth over the past five years, which is not saying much. Bear in mind, the company's ROE is not very high. Hence, this provides some context to the flat earnings growth seen by the company.
As a next step, we compared Far Eastern Department Stores' net income growth with the industry and found that the company has a similar growth figure when compared with the industry average growth rate of 1.2% in the same period.
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). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Far Eastern Department Stores fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is Far Eastern Department Stores Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Far Eastern Department Stores has a high three-year median payout ratio of 80% (or a retention ratio of 20%), meaning that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This does go some way in explaining why there's been no growth in its earnings.
Additionally, Far Eastern Department Stores 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.
In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Far Eastern Department Stores' performance. While the company has posted a decent earnings growth, We do feel that the earnings growth number could have been even higher, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings at a higher rate of return. Until now, we have only just grazed the surface of the company's past performance by looking at the company's fundamentals. To gain further insights into Far Eastern Department Stores' past profit growth, check out this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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