Most readers would already be aware that Eagle Materials' (NYSE:EXP) stock increased significantly by 17% 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 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 Eagle Materials' 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
How To 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 Eagle Materials is:
25% = US$334m ÷ US$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 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 $0.25 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Eagle Materials' Earnings Growth And 25% ROE
Firstly, we acknowledge that Eagle Materials has a significantly high ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 14% which is quite remarkable. For this reason, Eagle Materials' five year net income decline of 2.8% raises the question as to why the high ROE didn't translate into earnings growth. So, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
That being said, we compared Eagle Materials' 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 12% in the same period.
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). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Has the market priced in the future outlook for EXP? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Eagle Materials Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Eagle Materials' low three-year median payout ratio of 7.8% (or a retention ratio of 92%) over the last three years should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings to fuel its growth but the company's earnings have actually shrunk. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. 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, Eagle Materials 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 4.7% over the next three years. Still forecasts suggest that Eagle Materials' future ROE will drop to 18% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to decrease. This suggests that there could be other factors could driving the anticipated decline in the company's ROE.
Overall, we feel that Eagle Materials certainly does have some positive factors to consider. 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. 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. 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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