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Most readers would already be aware that Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's (NASDAQ:GLDD) stock increased significantly by 36% over the past three months. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's ROE today.
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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
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 Great Lakes Dredge & Dock is:
21% = US$70m ÷ US$333m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.21 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. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE
To start with, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's ROE looks acceptable. Especially when compared to the industry average of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. Probably as a result of this, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock was able to see an impressive net income growth of 63% over the last five years. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.
We then compared Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 13% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Great Lakes Dredge & Dock is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock doesn't pay any dividend currently which essentially means that it has been reinvesting all of its profits into the business. This definitely contributes to the high earnings growth number that we discussed above.
In total, we are pretty happy with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock'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. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company's earnings are expected to shrink in the future. 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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