With its stock down 7.7% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Gentex (NASDAQ:GNTX). However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Gentex's ROE today.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
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 Gentex is:
19% = US$372m ÷ US$2.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.19 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. 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.
Gentex's Earnings Growth And 19% ROE
To begin with, Gentex seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 12% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Despite this, Gentex'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. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Gentex's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 5.6% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
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). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for GNTX? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Gentex Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 28% (implying that the company keeps 72% of its income) over the last three years, Gentex has seen a negligible amount of growth in earnings as we saw above. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
Moreover, Gentex has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over 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 22%. However, Gentex's ROE is predicted to rise to 24% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.
In total, it does look like Gentex has some positive aspects to its business. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. 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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