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Owens Corning's (NYSE:OC) stock is up by a considerable 20% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study Owens Corning's ROE in this article.
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.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for return on equity is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Owens Corning is:
19% = US$741m ÷ US$4.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.19 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For 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. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.
Owens Corning's Earnings Growth And 19% ROE
To start with, Owens Corning's ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 15%. As you might expect, the 26% net income decline reported by Owens Corning is a bit of a surprise. We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that are preventing the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
So, as a next step, we compared Owens Corning's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 4.2% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is Owens Corning fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is Owens Corning Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
When we piece together Owens Corning's low three-year median payout ratio of 19% (where it is retaining 81% of its profits), calculated for the last three-year period, we are puzzled by the lack of growth. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
In addition, Owens Corning has been paying dividends over a period of seven years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is preferred by the management even though earnings have been in decline. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 15%. As a result, Owens Corning's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 16% for future ROE.
In total, it does look like Owens Corning has some positive aspects to its business. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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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