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Could The Market Be Wrong About Mainfreight Limited (NZSE:MFT) Given Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

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It is hard to get excited after looking at Mainfreight's (NZSE:MFT) recent performance, when its stock has declined 12% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. Specifically, we decided to study Mainfreight's ROE in this article.

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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Mainfreight

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 Mainfreight is:

25% = NZ$355m ÷ NZ$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every NZ$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of NZ$0.25.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Mainfreight's Earnings Growth And 25% ROE

To begin with, Mainfreight has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 12% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. Under the circumstances, Mainfreight's considerable five year net income growth of 24% was to be expected.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Mainfreight's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 16% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is MFT fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Mainfreight Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Mainfreight has a three-year median payout ratio of 40% (where it is retaining 60% of its income) which is not too low or not too high. So it seems that Mainfreight is reinvesting efficiently in a way that it sees impressive growth in its earnings (discussed above) and pays a dividend that's well covered.

Besides, Mainfreight 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 46%. Still, forecasts suggest that Mainfreight's future ROE will drop to 20% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Mainfreight'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. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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