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Declining Stock and Solid Fundamentals: Is The Market Wrong About Lancaster Colony Corporation (NASDAQ:LANC)?

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With its stock down 12% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Lancaster Colony (NASDAQ:LANC). 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. Specifically, we decided to study Lancaster Colony's 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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Lancaster Colony

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 Lancaster Colony is:

17% = US$142m ÷ US$843m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.17.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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 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 Lancaster Colony's Earnings Growth And 17% ROE

To begin with, Lancaster Colony seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. Yet, Lancaster Colony has posted measly growth of 3.6% over the past five years. This is interesting as the high returns should mean that the company has the ability to generate high growth but for some reason, it hasn't been able to do so. 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.

As a next step, we compared Lancaster Colony's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 1.3%.

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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is LANC fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Lancaster Colony Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Despite having a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 49% (implying that the company retains the remaining 51% of its income), Lancaster Colony's earnings growth was quite low. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.

Additionally, Lancaster Colony 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 50%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Lancaster Colony's future ROE will be 20% which is again, similar to the current ROE.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with Lancaster Colony's 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. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.