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Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About Life Storage, Inc. (NYSE:LSI)?

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Life Storage (NYSE:LSI) has had a rough month with its share price down 11%. However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on Life Storage's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Life Storage

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Life Storage is:

7.0% = US$252m ÷ US$3.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.07 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. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

Life Storage's Earnings Growth And 7.0% ROE

At first glance, Life Storage's ROE doesn't look very promising. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 6.7%, we may spare it some thought. Even so, Life Storage has shown a fairly decent growth in its net income which grew at a rate of 18%. Considering the moderately low ROE, it is quite possible that there might be some other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Life Storage's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 11% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. 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 LSI? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Life Storage Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Life Storage seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 71%, meaning the company retains only 29% of its income. However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. In spite of this, the company was able to grow its earnings by a fair bit, as we saw above.

Moreover, Life Storage 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 63%. However, Life Storage's ROE is predicted to rise to 13% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like Life Storage has some positive aspects to its business. That is, quite an impressive growth in earnings. However, the low profit retention means that the company's earnings growth could have been higher, had it been reinvesting a higher portion of its profits. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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.