# Are Realty Income Corporation's (NYSE:O) Mixed Financials Driving The Negative Sentiment?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 09, 2022

Realty Income (NYSE:O) has had a rough month with its share price down 8.4%. It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. In this article, we decided to focus on Realty Income's ROE.

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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Realty Income

### How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Realty Income is:

1.8% = US\$464m ÷ US\$26b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every \$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated \$0.02 in profit.

### What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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. 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 Realty Income's Earnings Growth And 1.8% ROE

As you can see, Realty Income's ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 6.5%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Although, we can see that Realty Income saw a modest net income growth of 7.0% over the past 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.

As a next step, we compared Realty Income's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 11% in the same period.

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about Realty Income's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

### Is Realty Income Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Realty Income seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 84%, meaning the company retains only 16% of its income. However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. In spite of this, the company was able to grow its earnings by a fair bit, as we saw above.

Moreover, Realty Income is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 74%. Regardless, the future ROE for Realty Income is predicted to rise to 3.9% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.

### Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Realty Income can be open to many interpretations. While the company has posted a decent earnings growth, We do feel that the earnings growth number could have been even higher, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings at a higher rate of return. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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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