Innospec's (NASDAQ:IOSP) stock is up by 4.8% over the past three months. However, the company's financials look a bit inconsistent and market outcomes are ultimately driven by long-term fundamentals, meaning that the stock could head in either direction. In this article, we decided to focus on Innospec'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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for return on equity is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Innospec is:
3.0% = US$29m ÷ US$945m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.03.
Why Is ROE Important For 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. 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.
Innospec's Earnings Growth And 3.0% ROE
It is hard to argue that Innospec's ROE is much good in and of itself. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 10%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. For this reason, Innospec's five year net income decline of 9.7% is not surprising given its lower ROE. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.
That being said, we compared Innospec's performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 5.5% in the same period.
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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Innospec's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Innospec Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 26% (where it is retaining 74% of its profits), Innospec has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.
Additionally, Innospec has paid dividends over a period of seven years, which means that the company's management is rather focused on keeping up its dividend payments, regardless of the shrinking earnings. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 22%.
In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Innospec's performance. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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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