Most readers would already be aware that CF Industries Holdings' (NYSE:CF) stock increased significantly by 27% 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 CF Industries Holdings' 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.
How To Calculate Return On Equity?
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 CF Industries Holdings is:
7.4% = US$407m ÷ US$5.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 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 $0.07 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.
CF Industries Holdings' Earnings Growth And 7.4% ROE
When you first look at it, CF Industries Holdings' ROE doesn't look that attractive. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 10%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. However, the moderate 7.2% net income growth seen by CF Industries Holdings over the past five years is definitely a positive. So, the growth in the company's earnings could probably have been caused by other variables. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.
As a next step, we compared CF Industries Holdings' net income growth with the industry and found that the company has a similar growth figure when compared with the industry average growth rate of 7.2% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for CF? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is CF Industries Holdings Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
CF Industries Holdings has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 60%, meaning that it is left with only 40% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.
Moreover, CF Industries Holdings is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. 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 57%. Still, forecasts suggest that CF Industries Holdings' future ROE will rise to 12% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.
In total, it does look like CF Industries Holdings has some positive aspects to its business. While no doubt its earnings growth is pretty substantial, we do feel that the reinvestment rate is pretty low, meaning, the earnings growth number could have been significantly higher had the company been retaining more of its profits. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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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