Has La-Z-Boy Incorporated (NYSE:LZB) Stock's Recent Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Financial Health?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 12, 2022
NYSE:LZB
Source: Shutterstock

La-Z-Boy's (NYSE:LZB) stock up by 8.5% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study La-Z-Boy's ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for La-Z-Boy

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 La-Z-Boy is:

17% = US$133m ÷ US$786m (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. 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?

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.

A Side By Side comparison of La-Z-Boy's Earnings Growth And 17% ROE

At first glance, La-Z-Boy seems to have a decent ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 19% the company's ROE looks quite decent. La-Z-Boy's decent returns aren't reflected in La-Z-Boy'smediocre five year net income growth average of 5.0%. A few likely reasons that could be keeping earnings growth low are - the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

We then compared La-Z-Boy's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 22% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:LZB Past Earnings Growth January 12th 2022

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is La-Z-Boy fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is La-Z-Boy Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 27% (or a retention ratio of 73% over the past three years, La-Z-Boy has seen very little growth in earnings as we saw above. So there could be some other explanation in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Moreover, La-Z-Boy has been paying dividends for nine years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 20% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the lower expected payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that La-Z-Boy has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing growth. The latest industry analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to maintain its current growth rate. 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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