Easterly Government Properties (NYSE:DEA) has had a rough three months with its share price down 4.9%. But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Specifically, we decided to study Easterly Government Properties' ROE in this article.
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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Easterly Government Properties is:
1.0% = US$14m ÷ US$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.01 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.
A Side By Side comparison of Easterly Government Properties' Earnings Growth And 1.0% ROE
As you can see, Easterly Government Properties' ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 5.0%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. However, we we're pleasantly surprised to see that Easterly Government Properties grew its net income at a significant rate of 33% in the last five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. 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 Easterly Government Properties' growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 10% in the same period, which is great to see.
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. What is DEA worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether DEA is currently mispriced by the market.
Is Easterly Government Properties Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Easterly Government Properties has a very high three-year median payout ratio of 75%. This means that it has only 25% of its income left to reinvest into its business. However, it's not unusual to see a REIT with such a high payout ratio mainly due to statutory requirements. Despite this, the company's earnings have grown significantly as we saw above.
Besides, Easterly Government Properties has been paying dividends over a period of six years. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. 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 81%.
On the whole, we do feel that Easterly Government Properties has some positive attributes. Namely, its high earnings growth. We do however feel that the earnings growth number could have been even higher, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings and paid out less dividends. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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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