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Declining Stock and Solid Fundamentals: Is The Market Wrong About Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL)?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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With its stock down 6.2% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL). 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 Hormel Foods' 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Hormel Foods

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Hormel Foods is:

14% = US$908m ÷ US$6.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.14 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

A Side By Side comparison of Hormel Foods' Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

To begin with, Hormel Foods seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 9.1% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. However, for some reason, the higher returns aren't reflected in Hormel Foods' meagre five year net income growth average of 4.7%. That's a bit unexpected from a company which has such a high rate of return. Such a scenario is likely to take place when a company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that the growth figure reported by Hormel Foods compares quite favourably to the industry average, which shows a decline of 0.5% in the same period.

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Hormel Foods''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Hormel Foods Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 43% (or a retention ratio of 57% over the past three years, Hormel Foods has seen very little growth in earnings as we saw above. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Additionally, Hormel Foods has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 57% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the higher expected payout ratio.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Hormel Foods' performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. On studying current analyst estimates, we found that analysts expect the company to continue its recent growth streak. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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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