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Most readers would already be aware that AMERCO's (NASDAQ:UHAL) stock increased significantly by 30% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study AMERCO's ROE in this article.
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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
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 AMERCO is:
14% = US$659m ÷ US$4.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.14 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.
AMERCO's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE
To begin with, AMERCO seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 14%. Despite this, AMERCO's five year net income growth was quite flat over the past five years. So, there could be some other aspects that could potentially be preventing the company from growing. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.
As a next step, we compared AMERCO'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 5.8% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. 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 AMERCO's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is AMERCO Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
In total, it does look like AMERCO has some positive aspects to its business. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. Until now, we have only just grazed the surface of the company's past performance by looking at the company's fundamentals. So it may be worth checking this free detailed graph of AMERCO's past earnings, as well as revenue and cash flows to get a deeper insight into the company's performance.
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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