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Declining Stock and Solid Fundamentals: Is The Market Wrong About Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG)?

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With its stock down 5.7% over the past week, it is easy to disregard Arthur J. Gallagher (NYSE:AJG). 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. In this article, we decided to focus on Arthur J. Gallagher's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Arthur J. Gallagher

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Arthur J. Gallagher is:

11% = US$1.0b ÷ US$9.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax 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 $0.11 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Arthur J. Gallagher's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

To start with, Arthur J. Gallagher's ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 12%. Consequently, this likely laid the ground for the decent growth of 13% seen over the past five years by Arthur J. Gallagher.

We then performed a comparison between Arthur J. Gallagher's net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 14% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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. Is AJG fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Arthur J. Gallagher Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Arthur J. Gallagher has a three-year median payout ratio of 44%, which implies that it retains the remaining 56% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.

Moreover, Arthur J. Gallagher 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. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 24% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 17%, over the same period.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with Arthur J. Gallagher'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. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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.