World Fuel Services (NYSE:INT) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 17% over the last week. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Particularly, we will be paying attention to World Fuel Services' ROE today.
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.
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 World Fuel Services is:
5.9% = US$115m ÷ US$1.9b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.06 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.
World Fuel Services' Earnings Growth And 5.9% ROE
At first glance, World Fuel Services' ROE doesn't look very promising. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 12% either. World Fuel Services was still able to see a decent net income growth of 12% over the past five years. So, there might be other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that World Fuel Services' growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 4.3% in the same period, which is great to see.
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 World Fuel Services is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is World Fuel Services Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
World Fuel Services' three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 14% (implying that it retains 86% of its income), which is on the lower side, so it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business.
Additionally, World Fuel Services has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders.
In total, it does look like World Fuel Services has some positive aspects to its business. With a high rate of reinvestment, albeit at a low ROE, the company has managed to see a considerable growth in its earnings. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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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