It is hard to get excited after looking at United-Guardian's (NASDAQ:UG) recent performance, when its stock has declined 19% over the past three months. 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. Specifically, we decided to study United-Guardian's 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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
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 United-Guardian is:
41% = US$4.4m ÷ US$11m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.41 in profit.
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. 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.
United-Guardian's Earnings Growth And 41% ROE
First thing first, we like that United-Guardian has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 22% which is quite remarkable. However, for some reason, the higher returns aren't reflected in United-Guardian's meagre five year net income growth average of 2.7%. That's a bit unexpected from a company which has such a high rate of return. We reckon that a low growth, when returns are quite high could be the result of certain circumstances like low earnings retention or or poor allocation of capital.
We then compared United-Guardian's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 24% 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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. 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 United-Guardian is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is United-Guardian Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
United-Guardian has a very high three-year median payout ratio of 108%suggesting that the company's shareholders are getting paid from more than just the company's income. That's a huge risk in our books. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for United-Guardian.
Additionally, United-Guardian has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by United-Guardian can be open to many interpretations. In spite of the high ROE, the company has failed to see growth in its earnings due to it paying out most of its profits as dividend, with almost nothing left to invest into its own business. Up till now, we've only made a short study of the company's growth data. You can do your own research on United-Guardian and see how it has performed in the past by looking at this FREE detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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