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It is hard to get excited after looking at Cyanotech's (NASDAQ:CYAN) recent performance, when its stock has declined 30% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. In this article, we decided to focus on Cyanotech's ROE.
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?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Cyanotech is:
5.4% = US$920k ÷ US$17m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.05 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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.
Cyanotech's Earnings Growth And 5.4% ROE
On the face of it, Cyanotech's ROE is not much to talk about. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 17%. In spite of this, Cyanotech was able to grow its net income considerably, at a rate of 43% in the last five years. Therefore, there could be other reasons 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 Cyanotech's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 23% in the same period, which is great to see.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. 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 Cyanotech is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Cyanotech Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
On the whole, we do feel that Cyanotech has some positive attributes. Despite its low rate of return, the fact that the company reinvests a very high portion of its profits into its business, no doubt contributed to its high earnings growth. While we won't completely dismiss the company, what we would do, is try to ascertain how risky the business is to make a more informed decision around the company. You can see the 4 risks we have identified for Cyanotech by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.
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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