Columbus McKinnon's (NASDAQ:CMCO) stock is up by a considerable 5.8% over the past month. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. In this article, we decided to focus on Columbus McKinnon's ROE.
Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How To 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 Columbus McKinnon is:
3.3% = US$24m ÷ US$735m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.03 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.
Columbus McKinnon's Earnings Growth And 3.3% ROE
It is hard to argue that Columbus McKinnon's ROE is much good in and of itself. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 10%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. However, the moderate 6.3% net income growth seen by Columbus McKinnon over the past five years is definitely a positive. Therefore, the growth in earnings could probably have been caused by other variables. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.
We then compared Columbus McKinnon's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 8.5% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. 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 Columbus McKinnon is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Columbus McKinnon Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Columbus McKinnon's three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 15% (implying that it retains 85% of its income), which is on the lower side, so it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business.
Besides, Columbus McKinnon has been paying dividends over a period of eight years. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders.
In total, it does look like Columbus McKinnon has some positive aspects to its business. Namely, its respectable earnings growth, which it achieved due to it retaining most of its profits. However, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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.