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Most readers would already know that Realty Income's (NYSE:O) stock increased by 8.1% over the past 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 Realty Income's ROE in this article.
Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Realty Income is:
4.7% = US$486m ÷ US$10b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.05 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. 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. 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 Realty Income's Earnings Growth And 4.7% ROE
On the face of it, Realty Income's ROE is not much to talk about. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 5.0%. Even so, Realty Income has shown a fairly decent growth in its net income which grew at a rate of 13%. Considering the moderately low ROE, it is quite possible that there might be some other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.
As a next step, we compared Realty Income's net income growth with the industry and found that the company has a similar growth figure when compared with the industry average growth rate of 14% in the same period.
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. Is O fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Realty Income Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Realty Income seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 85%, meaning the company retains only 15% of its income. However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. In spite of this, the company was able to grow its earnings by a fair bit, as we saw above.
Additionally, Realty Income has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. 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 79%. As a result, Realty Income's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 5.2% for future ROE.
Overall, we feel that Realty Income certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Namely, its high earnings growth. We do however feel that the earnings growth number could have been even higher, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings and paid out less dividends. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down. 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. 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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