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Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 12% over the last three months. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. Specifically, we decided to study Automatic Data Processing's ROE in this article.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
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 Automatic Data Processing is:
43% = US$2.5b ÷ US$5.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.43.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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 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.
Automatic Data Processing's Earnings Growth And 43% ROE
First thing first, we like that Automatic Data Processing has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 14% which is quite remarkable. Probably as a result of this, Automatic Data Processing was able to see a decent net income growth of 12% over the last five years.
As a next step, we compared Automatic Data Processing'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 12% 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. 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 Automatic Data Processing is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Automatic Data Processing Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
The high three-year median payout ratio of 58% (or a retention ratio of 42%) for Automatic Data Processing suggests that the company's growth wasn't really hampered despite it returning most of its income to its shareholders.
Additionally, Automatic Data Processing 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 56%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Automatic Data Processing's future ROE will be 45% which is again, similar to the current ROE.
On the whole, we feel that Automatic Data Processing's performance has been quite good. We are particularly impressed by the considerable earnings growth posted by the company, which was likely backed by its high ROE. While the company is paying out most of its earnings as dividends, it has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's probably a good sign. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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