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Pentair (NYSE:PNR) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 22% over the last three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study Pentair'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.
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 Pentair is:
19% = US$416m ÷ US$2.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.19.
What Has ROE Got To Do With 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.
Pentair's Earnings Growth And 19% ROE
To start with, Pentair's ROE looks acceptable. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 12% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. However, for some reason, the higher returns aren't reflected in Pentair's meagre five year net income growth average of 4.7%. This is generally not the case as when a company has a high rate of return it should usually also have a high earnings growth rate. A few likely reasons why this could happen is that the company could have a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Pentair's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 8.0% 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. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about Pentair's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Pentair Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Despite having a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 35% (implying that the company retains the remaining 65% of its income), Pentair's earnings growth was quite low. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
In addition, Pentair has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 26% over the next three years. Despite the lower expected payout ratio, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much.
Overall, we feel that Pentair certainly does have some positive factors to consider. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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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