Most readers would already be aware that National Health Investors' (NYSE:NHI) stock increased significantly by 20% over the past three months. However, we decided to pay close attention to its weak financials as we are doubtful that the current momentum will keep up, given the scenario. Specifically, we decided to study National Health Investors' ROE in this article.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. 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 National Health Investors is:
4.8% = US$68m ÷ US$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 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 $0.05 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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 National Health Investors' Earnings Growth And 4.8% ROE
On the face of it, National Health Investors' ROE is not much to talk about. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 6.5%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. For this reason, National Health Investors' five year net income decline of 5.7% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.
That being said, we compared National Health Investors' performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 11% in the same period.
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 National Health Investors is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is National Health Investors Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
National Health Investors seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 79% (meaning, the company retains only 21% of profits). However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. So this probably explains the company's shrinking earnings.
Moreover, National Health Investors has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 71% of its profits over the next three years.
In total, we would have a hard think before deciding on any investment action concerning National Health Investors. As a result of its low ROE and lack of much reinvestment into the business, the company has seen a disappointing earnings growth rate. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.
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