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Is MDU Resources Group, Inc.'s (NYSE:MDU) Recent Performance Tethered To Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

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Most readers would already know that MDU Resources Group's (NYSE:MDU) stock increased by 5.9% 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 MDU Resources Group'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. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

View our latest analysis for MDU Resources Group

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity 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 MDU Resources Group is:

13% = US$417m ÷ US$3.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.13 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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 MDU Resources Group's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

To start with, MDU Resources Group's ROE looks acceptable. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 9.3% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Probably as a result of this, MDU Resources Group was able to see a decent growth of 13% over the last five years.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that MDU Resources Group's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 7.0% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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). 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 MDU Resources Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is MDU Resources Group Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

While MDU Resources Group has a three-year median payout ratio of 51% (which means it retains 49% 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.

Additionally, MDU Resources Group has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 38% over the next three years.

Conclusion

In total, we are pretty happy with MDU Resources Group's performance. Especially the high ROE, Which has contributed to the impressive growth seen in earnings. Despite the company reinvesting only a small portion of its profits, it still has managed to grow its earnings so that is appreciable. 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 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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