Eastman Chemical (NYSE:EMN) has had a rough week with its share price down 8.9%. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it's worth paying close attention. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Eastman Chemical's ROE today.
Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Do You 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 Eastman Chemical is:
8.0% = US$506m ÷ US$6.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.08 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. 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.
Eastman Chemical's Earnings Growth And 8.0% ROE
At first glance, Eastman Chemical's ROE doesn't look very promising. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 12%. For this reason, Eastman Chemical's five year net income decline of 10% 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.
So, as a next step, we compared Eastman Chemical's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 3.3% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. What is EMN worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether EMN is currently mispriced by the market.
Is Eastman Chemical Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 43% (or a retention ratio of 57%) which is pretty normal, Eastman Chemical's declining earnings is rather baffling as one would expect to see a fair bit of growth when a company is retaining a good portion of its profits. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.
In addition, Eastman Chemical 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 33% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Eastman Chemical's payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 19%, over the same period.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about Eastman Chemical. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its 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.
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