Most readers would already be aware that Arthur J. Gallagher's (NYSE:AJG) stock increased significantly by 18% over the past three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term fundamentals, we decided to study the company’s key performance indicators to see if they could be influencing the market. In this article, we decided to focus on Arthur J. Gallagher's ROE.
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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
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 Arthur J. Gallagher is:
14% = US$720m ÷ US$5.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020).
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 $0.14 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learnt 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. 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.
Arthur J. Gallagher's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE
To begin with, Arthur J. Gallagher seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 8.9% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This certainly adds some context to Arthur J. Gallagher's decent 17% net income growth seen over the past five years.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Arthur J. Gallagher's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 8.3% in the same period, which is great to see.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. 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 Arthur J. Gallagher is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Arthur J. Gallagher Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Arthur J. Gallagher has a three-year median payout ratio of 48%, which implies that it retains the remaining 52% 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.
Besides, Arthur J. Gallagher has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 44%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Arthur J. Gallagher's future ROE will be 12% which is again, similar to the current ROE.
On the whole, we feel that Arthur J. Gallagher's performance has been quite good. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a sizeable growth in its earnings. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down. 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.
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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