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With its stock down 4.5% over the past week, it is easy to disregard Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST). However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on Fastenal's ROE.
Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
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 Fastenal is:
31% = US$984m ÷ US$3.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.31 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. 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 Fastenal's Earnings Growth And 31% ROE
To begin with, Fastenal has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 23% the company's ROE is quite impressive. This likely paved the way for the modest 11% net income growth seen by Fastenal over the past five years. growth
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Fastenal's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 14% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is FAST fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Fastenal Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
While Fastenal has a three-year median payout ratio of 66% (which means it retains 34% of profits), the company has still seen a fair bit of earnings growth in the past, meaning that its high payout ratio hasn't hampered its ability to grow.
Moreover, Fastenal 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 67% of its profits over the next three years. As a result, Fastenal's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 32% for future ROE.
On the whole, we do feel that Fastenal has some positive attributes. The company has grown its earnings moderately as previously discussed. Still, the high ROE could have been even more beneficial to investors had the company been reinvesting more of its profits. As highlighted earlier, the current reinvestment rate appears to be quite low. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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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.