Most readers would already be aware that AMERISAFE's (NASDAQ:AMSF) stock increased significantly by 7.5% over the past month. 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 AMERISAFE'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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How Is ROE Calculated?
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 AMERISAFE is:
19% = US$91m ÷ US$480m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
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 $0.19.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.
AMERISAFE's Earnings Growth And 19% ROE
To start with, AMERISAFE's ROE looks acceptable. Especially when compared to the industry average of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This certainly adds some context to AMERISAFE's decent 9.1% net income growth seen over the past five years.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that AMERISAFE's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 12% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is AMSF fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is AMERISAFE Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
AMERISAFE has a low three-year median payout ratio of 23%, meaning that the company retains the remaining 77% of its profits. This suggests that the management is reinvesting most of the profits to grow the business.
Moreover, AMERISAFE is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of nine years of paying a dividend. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 46% over the next three years. Consequently, the higher expected payout ratio explains the decline in the company's expected ROE (to 12%) over the same period.
On the whole, we feel that AMERISAFE's performance has been quite good. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. As a result, the decent growth in its earnings is not surprising. Having said that, on studying current analyst estimates, we were concerned to see that while the company has grown its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to shrink in the future. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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.