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Declining Stock and Solid Fundamentals: Is The Market Wrong About Kemper Corporation (NYSE:KMPR)?

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With its stock down 7.5% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Kemper (NYSE:KMPR). But if you pay close attention, you might gather that its strong financials could mean that the stock could potentially see an increase in value in the long-term, given how markets usually reward companies with good financial health. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Kemper's ROE today.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Kemper

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 Kemper is:

11% = US$469m ÷ US$4.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 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 $0.11 in profit.

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. 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. 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.

Kemper's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

At first glance, Kemper seems to have a decent ROE. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 12%. This probably goes some way in explaining Kemper's significant 46% net income growth over the past five years amongst other factors. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. 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 Kemper'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. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. 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 KMPR? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Kemper Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Kemper has a really low three-year median payout ratio of 18%, meaning that it has the remaining 82% left over to reinvest into its business. So it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business and this reflects in its earnings growth number.

Besides, Kemper has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 20%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Kemper's future ROE will be 10.0% which is again, similar to the current ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Kemper's performance. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a sizeable growth in its earnings. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down. 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.

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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