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Northwest Pipe (NASDAQ:NWPX) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 15% over the last three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. Specifically, we decided to study Northwest Pipe's ROE in this article.
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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Northwest Pipe is:
4.5% = US$13m ÷ US$287m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.04.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Northwest Pipe's Earnings Growth And 4.5% ROE
At first glance, Northwest Pipe's ROE doesn't look very promising. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 9.4%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. However, we we're pleasantly surprised to see that Northwest Pipe grew its net income at a significant rate of 27% in the last five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.
We then compared Northwest Pipe's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 13% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. 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 Northwest Pipe is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Northwest Pipe Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Northwest Pipe doesn't pay any dividend to its shareholders, meaning that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits into the business. This is likely what's driving the high earnings growth number discussed above.
Overall, we feel that Northwest Pipe certainly does have some positive factors to consider. With a high rate of reinvestment, albeit at a low ROE, the company has managed to see a considerable growth in its earnings. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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.