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Astec Industries, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ASTE) Stock Is Rallying But Financials Look Ambiguous: Will The Momentum Continue?

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

Astec Industries (NASDAQ:ASTE) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 52% over the last three months. However, we decided to pay attention to the company's fundamentals which don't appear to give a clear sign about the company's financial health. In this article, we decided to focus on Astec Industries' ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Astec Industries

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Astec Industries is:

4.6% = US$28m ÷ US$612m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020).

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 $0.05 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learnt that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Astec Industries' Earnings Growth And 4.6% ROE

On the face of it, Astec Industries' ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 13% either. For this reason, Astec Industries' five year net income decline of 35% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

So, as a next step, we compared Astec Industries' performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 9.9% in the same period.

NasdaqGS:ASTE Past Earnings Growth June 15th 2020
NasdaqGS:ASTE Past Earnings Growth June 15th 2020

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Astec Industries''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Astec Industries Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Astec Industries' low three-year median payout ratio of 18% (implying that it retains the remaining 82% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. This typically shouldn't be the case when a company is retaining most of its earnings. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For example, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Moreover, Astec Industries has been paying dividends for seven 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.

Conclusion

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Astec Industries. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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.

Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.

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. Thank you for reading.