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Comfort Systems USA (NYSE:FIX) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 9.4% over the last month. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Comfort Systems USA's ROE.
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 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 Comfort Systems USA is:
21% = US$141m ÷ US$668m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.21 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.
Comfort Systems USA's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE
At first glance, Comfort Systems USA seems to have a decent ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. Probably as a result of this, Comfort Systems USA was able to see an impressive net income growth of 21% over the last five years. However, there could also be other causes behind this growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Comfort Systems USA's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 16% in the same period, which is great to see.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. 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 Comfort Systems USA is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Comfort Systems USA Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Comfort Systems USA's ' three-year median payout ratio is on the lower side at 13% implying that it is retaining a higher percentage (87%) of its profits. So it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business and this reflects in its earnings growth number.
Besides, Comfort Systems USA 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 15%.
Overall, we are quite pleased with Comfort Systems USA's performance. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see substantial growth in its earnings. With that said, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that while the company has seen growth in its past earnings, analysts expect its future earnings to shrink. 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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