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Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About Natural Alternatives International, Inc. (NASDAQ:NAII)?

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With its stock down 23% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Natural Alternatives International (NASDAQ:NAII). But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Specifically, we decided to study Natural Alternatives International's 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Natural Alternatives International

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 Natural Alternatives International is:

14% = US$12m ÷ US$85m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.14 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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.

Natural Alternatives International's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

At first glance, Natural Alternatives International seems to have a decent ROE. Even so, when compared with the average industry ROE of 21%, we aren't very excited. Needless to say, the 9.4% net income shrink rate seen by Natural Alternatives Internationalover the past five years is a huge dampener. Bear in mind, the company does have a high ROE. It is just that the industry ROE is higher. Hence there might be some other aspects that are causing earnings to shrink. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

So, as a next step, we compared Natural Alternatives International's 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 21% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Natural Alternatives International fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Natural Alternatives International Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Because Natural Alternatives International doesn't pay any dividends, we infer that it is retaining all of its profits, which is rather perplexing when you consider the fact that there is no earnings growth to show for it. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Summary

In total, it does look like Natural Alternatives International has some positive aspects to its business. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a respectable rate of return and is reinvesting a huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing 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 Natural Alternatives International by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

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.