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.
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.
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.
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?
Earnings are forecast to grow 17.35% per year
Earnings grew by 9% over the past year
Large one-off items impacting financial results
Has a high level of debt
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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.