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Is Natus Medical Incorporated's (NASDAQ:NTUS) Stock Price Struggling As A Result Of Its Mixed Financials?

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With its stock down 3.4% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Natus Medical (NASDAQ:NTUS). 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. Specifically, we decided to study Natus Medical's 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.

View our latest analysis for Natus Medical

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Natus Medical is:

3.9% = US$17m ÷ US$423m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.04 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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.

Natus Medical's Earnings Growth And 3.9% ROE

It is quite clear that Natus Medical's ROE is rather low. Even when compared to the industry average of 9.7%, the ROE figure is pretty disappointing. For this reason, Natus Medical's five year net income decline of 26% 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 example, the business has allocated capital poorly, or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

However, when we compared Natus Medical's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 14% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. 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 Natus Medical is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Natus Medical Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Natus Medical doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that the company is keeping all of its profits, which makes us wonder why it is retaining its earnings if it can't use them to grow its business. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Summary

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Natus Medical. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.