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Are Poor Financial Prospects Dragging Down CONMED Corporation (NYSE:CNMD Stock?

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With its stock down 5.0% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard CONMED (NYSE:CNMD). We decided to study the company's financials to determine if the downtrend will continue as the long-term performance of a company usually dictates market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on CONMED's 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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for CONMED

How To 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 CONMED is:

7.3% = US$54m ÷ US$744m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 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 $0.07 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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 everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

A Side By Side comparison of CONMED's Earnings Growth And 7.3% ROE

On the face of it, CONMED's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 11% either. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 2.5% seen by CONMED was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared CONMED'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

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about CONMED's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is CONMED Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

CONMED has a high three-year median payout ratio of 77% (that is, it is retaining 23% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent. Our risks dashboard should have the 3 risks we have identified for CONMED.

Additionally, CONMED has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 17% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 15%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on CONMED. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. 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. 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.

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.

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