Barrett Business Services' (NASDAQ:BBSI) stock is up by 7.3% over the past three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term financial health, we decided to study the company’s fundamentals to see if they could be influencing the market. In this article, we decided to focus on Barrett Business Services' ROE.
Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How To 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 Barrett Business Services is:
17% = US$34m ÷ US$198m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.17 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. 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.
Barrett Business Services' Earnings Growth And 17% ROE
At first glance, Barrett Business Services seems to have a decent ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 13% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This probably laid the ground for Barrett Business Services' moderate 18% net income growth seen over the past five years.
We then performed a comparison between Barrett Business Services' net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 16% in the same period.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. 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 Barrett Business Services is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Barrett Business Services Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Barrett Business Services' three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 20% (implying that it retains 80% of its income), which is on the lower side, so it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business.
Moreover, Barrett Business Services is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 25% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the higher expected payout ratio.
Overall, we are quite pleased with Barrett Business Services' performance. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a sizeable growth in its earnings. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.
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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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