Stock Analysis

Are Robust Financials Driving The Recent Rally In AECOM's (NYSE:ACM) Stock?

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NYSE:ACM
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AECOM's (NYSE:ACM) stock is up by a considerable 19% over the past three months. 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 AECOM's ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

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How Is ROE Calculated?

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 AECOM is:

16% = US$415m ÷ US$2.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.16.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of AECOM's Earnings Growth And 16% ROE

To start with, AECOM's ROE looks acceptable. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 9.1% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Probably as a result of this, AECOM was able to see a decent growth of 7.9% over the last five years.

We then compared AECOM's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 11% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:ACM Past Earnings Growth December 1st 2022

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 AECOM is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is AECOM Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

In AECOM's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 16% (or a retention ratio of 84%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Along with seeing a growth in earnings, AECOM only recently started paying dividends. Its quite possible that the company was looking to impress its shareholders. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 16%. Regardless, the future ROE for AECOM is predicted to rise to 26% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.

Summary

Overall, we are quite pleased with AECOM's performance. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see a good amount of growth in its earnings. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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.

What are the risks and opportunities for AECOM?

AECOM, together with its subsidiaries, provides professional infrastructure consulting services worldwide.

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Rewards

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 17.35% per year

  • Earnings grew by 9% over the past year

Risks

  • Large one-off items impacting financial results

  • Has a high level of debt

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