Most readers would already be aware that Creative Realities' (NASDAQ:CREX) stock increased significantly by 306% over the past month. However, we decided to pay attention to the company's fundamentals which don't appear to give a clear sign about the company's financial health. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Creative Realities' ROE today.
Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
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 Creative Realities is:
5.6% = US$1.0m ÷ US$19m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).
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 $0.06 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learnt that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.
Creative Realities' Earnings Growth And 5.6% ROE
At first glance, Creative Realities' ROE doesn't look very promising. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 12%. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 6.6% seen by Creative Realities over the last five years is not surprising. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
However, when we compared Creative Realities' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 13% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
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. 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 Creative Realities is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Creative Realities Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Creative Realities doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that the company is keeping all of its profits, which makes us wonder why it is retaining its earnings if it can't use them to grow its business. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about Creative Realities. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. Additionally, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that analysts expect the company's earnings to continue to shrink in the future. 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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