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Most readers would already know that Realty Income's (NYSE:O) stock increased by 8.8% 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 investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Realty Income's ROE today.
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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Do You 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 Realty Income is:
3.6% = US$397m ÷ US$11b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. 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?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.
Realty Income's Earnings Growth And 3.6% ROE
As you can see, Realty Income's ROE looks pretty weak. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 5.0%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. Realty Income was still able to see a decent net income growth of 12% over the past five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. 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 11% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is O worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether O is currently mispriced by the market.
Is Realty Income Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Realty Income has a high three-year median payout ratio of 84%. This means that it has only 16% of its income left to reinvest into its business. However, it's not unusual to see a REIT with such a high payout ratio mainly due to statutory requirements. Despite this, the company's earnings grew moderately 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 79%. Regardless, the future ROE for Realty Income is predicted to rise to 5.3% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.
In total, it does look like Realty Income has some positive aspects to its business. While no doubt its earnings growth is pretty substantial, we do feel that the reinvestment rate is pretty low, meaning, the earnings growth number could have been significantly higher had the company been retaining more of its profits. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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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