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Edgewell Personal Care Company's (NYSE:EPC) Stock Is Rallying But Financials Look Ambiguous: Will The Momentum Continue?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Most readers would already be aware that Edgewell Personal Care's (NYSE:EPC) stock increased significantly by 13% over the past three months. But the company's key financial indicators appear to be differing across the board and that makes us question whether or not the company's current share price momentum can be maintained. Specifically, we decided to study Edgewell Personal Care's ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Edgewell Personal Care

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Edgewell Personal Care is:

4.3% = US$63m ÷ US$1.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.04 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 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.

Edgewell Personal Care's Earnings Growth And 4.3% ROE

On the face of it, Edgewell Personal Care's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 15% either. For this reason, Edgewell Personal Care's five year net income decline of 15% is not surprising given its lower ROE. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

That being said, we compared Edgewell Personal Care's performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 10% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is EPC worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether EPC is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Edgewell Personal Care Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Edgewell Personal Care's low three-year median payout ratio of 13% (implying that it retains the remaining 87% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For instance, the business has faced some headwinds.

Moreover, Edgewell Personal Care has been paying dividends for nine years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer consistent dividends even though earnings have been shrinking. 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 15%. However, Edgewell Personal Care's ROE is predicted to rise to 9.8% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Edgewell Personal Care's performance. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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.

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