PriceSmart, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PSMT) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 23, 2021
NasdaqGS:PSMT
Source: Shutterstock

With its stock down 5.7% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard PriceSmart (NASDAQ:PSMT). However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on PriceSmart's ROE.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for PriceSmart

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for PriceSmart is:

10% = US$89m ÷ US$875m (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.10 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.

PriceSmart's Earnings Growth And 10% ROE

To begin with, PriceSmart seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 12%. As you might expect, the 3.0% net income decline reported by PriceSmart is a bit of a surprise. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

So, as a next step, we compared PriceSmart's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 12% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
NasdaqGS:PSMT Past Earnings Growth June 24th 2021

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. Is PSMT fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is PriceSmart Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 28% (where it is retaining 72% of its profits), PriceSmart has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, PriceSmart has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like PriceSmart has some positive aspects to its business. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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. 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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