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NeoPhotonics Corporation's (NYSE:NPTN) Stock Is Rallying But Financials Look Ambiguous: Will The Momentum Continue?

Simply Wall St

NeoPhotonics (NYSE:NPTN) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 59% over the last three months. However, we decided to pay attention to the company's fundamentals which don't appear to give a clear sign about the company's financial health. In this article, we decided to focus on NeoPhotonics' ROE.

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.

See our latest analysis for NeoPhotonics

How To 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 NeoPhotonics is:

2.0% = US$3.3m ÷ US$167m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.02.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learnt 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.

NeoPhotonics' Earnings Growth And 2.0% ROE

It is quite clear that NeoPhotonics' ROE is rather low. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 10%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 35% seen by NeoPhotonics was possibly a result of it having a lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

That being said, we compared NeoPhotonics' 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 20% in the same period.

NYSE:NPTN Past Earnings Growth June 21st 2020

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for NPTN? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is NeoPhotonics Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Because NeoPhotonics doesn't pay any dividends, we infer that it is retaining all of its profits, which is rather perplexing when you consider the fact that there is no earnings growth to show for it. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by NeoPhotonics can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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. 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. Thank you for reading.