Can Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.'s (NYSE:ALEX) Weak Financials Pull The Plug On The Stock's Current Momentum On Its Share Price?
Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE:ALEX) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 11% over the last three months. However, we decided to pay close attention to its weak financials as we are doubtful that the current momentum will keep up, given the scenario. Specifically, we decided to study Alexander & Baldwin's ROE in this article.
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. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
View our latest analysis for Alexander & Baldwin
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 Alexander & Baldwin is:
2.6% = US$29m ÷ US$1.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.03 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. 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.
Alexander & Baldwin's Earnings Growth And 2.6% ROE
It is hard to argue that Alexander & Baldwin's ROE is much good in and of itself. Even when compared to the industry average of 6.9%, the ROE figure is pretty disappointing. For this reason, Alexander & Baldwin's five year net income decline of 30% is not surprising given its lower ROE. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For example, the business has allocated capital poorly, or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
However, when we compared Alexander & Baldwin's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 12% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). 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 Alexander & Baldwin's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Alexander & Baldwin Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Alexander & Baldwin seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 50% (meaning, the company retains only 50% of profits). However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. So this probably explains the company's shrinking earnings.
Moreover, Alexander & Baldwin has been paying dividends for nine years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer consistent dividends even though earnings have been shrinking.
On the whole, Alexander & Baldwin's performance is quite a big let-down. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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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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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