It is hard to get excited after looking at Matson's (NYSE:MATX) recent performance, when its stock has declined 17% over the past three months. However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. In this article, we decided to focus on Matson's ROE.
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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How To Calculate Return On Equity?
Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Matson is:
27% = US$277m ÷ US$1.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
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 $0.27.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Matson's Earnings Growth And 27% ROE
To begin with, Matson has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 8.0% the company's ROE is quite impressive. This probably laid the groundwork for Matson's moderate 8.5% net income growth seen over the past five years.
We then compared Matson's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 29% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.
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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Matson's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Matson Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Matson has a three-year median payout ratio of 32%, which implies that it retains the remaining 68% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.
Additionally, Matson has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 21% over the next three years. Still forecasts suggest that Matson's future ROE will drop to 15% 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.
On the whole, we feel that Matson's performance has been quite good. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. As a result, the decent growth in its earnings is not surprising. With that said, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that while the company has seen growth in its past earnings, analysts expect its future earnings to shrink. 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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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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